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United States 

Commission on Industrial 

Report on the Colorado Strike 





United States 

Commission on Industrial 


Report on the Colorado Strike 




6'- £ & ft f 



Barnard & Miller Print, Chicago 

OCT 22 1915 




Introduction 5 

I. Causes of the Strike 15 

II. The Eefusal of a Conference 85 

III. Violence and Policing 101 

IV. The Colorado Militia and the Strike 107 

V. The Ultimate Responsibility 139 

VI. The Situation in Colorado After the Strike 156 


Of the conflicts between employers and workmen that oc- 
curred during the life of the Commission on Industrial Rela- 
tions, the most serious and portentous was that which followed 
the strike of about 9,000 coal miners in southern Colorado. 

The Commission has devoted more time to an effort to as- 
certain the causes and all the circumstances of the Colorado 
strike than to the study of any other particular situation, not 
only because of the numbers involved and the wide public in- 
terest aroused, but because the struggle in Colorado presented 
an unequalled opportunity to study some of the major prob- 
lems that must be considered in an attempt to discover the un- 
derlying causes of industrial unrest. 

To understand the Colorado situation in its relation to the 
general problem, it is necessary first to draw a rough line be- 
tween the two principal classifications into which industrial 
disturbances fall. On the one side are the spontaneous re- 
volts and the organized strikes of wage earners who are im- 
pelled to act by the pressure of economic necessity, or by the 
conviction that their collective power is sufficiently great to 
force an increase in wages or other purely material advantage. 
On the other side of the line are those revolts that are animated 
primarily, not by the need and desire for higher wages and 
greater material blessings, but by resentment against the pos- 
session and the exercise by the employer of arbitrary power. 

The struggle in Colorado was primarily a struggle against 
arbitrary power, in which the question of wages was second- 
ary, as an immediate issue. And the merits of the strikers' 
cause must be judged by an answer to the question of whether 
they and their representatives demanded arbitrary and tyran- 
nical power for their collective organization, or whether they 
sought only that measure of control over their own lives that 

is guaranteed by the spirit and letter of American constitu- 
tions and statutes. 

Involving as its major issue the demand of the miners for 
a voice in determining the conditions under which they 
worked, the Colorado conflict was also a struggle for a voice 
in determining political and social conditions in the communi- 
ties where they and their families lived. The strikers pas- 
sionately felt and believed that they were denied, not only a 
voice in fixing working conditions within the mines, but that 
political democracy, carrying with it rights and privileges 
guaranteed by the laws of the land, had likewise been flouted 
and repudiated by the owners. It was this latter belief that 
gave to the strikers that intensity of feeling which impelled 
them to suffer unusual hardships during their stay in the tent 
colonies, and which gave to the strike the character more of a 
revolt by entire communities than of a protest by wage earn- 
ers only. 

In judging the merits of the miners' demand for collective 
bargaining, for that share in the management of the industry 
itself which is called industrial democracy, the Colorado strike 
must be considered as one manifestation of a world-wide 
movement of wage earners toward an extension of the prin- 
ciples of democracy to the work shop, the factory and the 
mine. And because this issue is not local or peculiar to the 
particular industry, and because it is the root from which the 
other issues spring, it must be regarded as of chief impor- 

Briefly stated, and in a phrase commonly heard, it is the 
issue of whether or not the owners of an enterprise command- 
ing the labor of hundreds or thousands of men have the 
right to run their business in their own way, without consulta- 
tion with or dictation from their employees, or their em- 
ployees ' chosen agents. 

Closely related, however, is the other issue of whether or 
not political democracy and that degree of personal liberty 
promised by American institutions existed in the Colorado 
coal camps, of whether or not the miners and their families 

enjoyed their full social and political rights, as distinguished 
from the industrial rights for which also they contended. It 
is an issue that has arisen time and again in communities 
given over to a single industry, or to closely-related industries 
under centralized control, and it raises the question of whether 
or not political liberty be possible in a community where every 
man's livelihood depends on the good will and the favor of 
a handful of men who control his opportunity to work. Ex- 
perience in the Colorado coal camps and in many similar com- 
munities proves that all the safeguards yet devised for the 
free exercise of the popular will are futile to prevent political 
domination when corporations or individuals control abso- 
lutely the industrial and economic life of the community. The 
secret ballot, direct primaries, the initiative, referendum and 
recall, are alike powerless to secure an effective means of ex- 
pression for the popular will and interest. Democratic gov- 
ernment in such communities can be defeated without resort 
to illegal practices such as ballot box stuffing and corruption 
on the part of election officials. This is true because the 
right of suffrage can be effectively exercised only where there 
exist free speech, free assembly, and a free press. Not even 
the most intelligent groups of voters can be informed regard- 
ing their rights and interests in relation to the issues and 
candidacies of a political campaign unless there be free dis- 
cussion and agitation, and these things are impossible where 
free speech, free assembly, and a free press are denied. These 
three essentials of democratic government can be denied with 
ease by a corporation or individual possessed of the power to 
discharge an employee without cause. Company spies can 
easily identify employees who express offensive political opin- 
ions, who read newspapers or periodicals that express politi- 
cal views contrary to the interests of the employer, or who at- 
tend public meetings that are addressed by. speakers or candi- 
dates opposed, to the interests of the employer. 

It is true that a few states provide for the transmission to 
each voter of short printed arguments for and against certain 
measures on which the people are to ballot. This is done only 
when the initiative, referendum and recall are invoked, and 


the practice has not been extended to issues involved in candi- 
dacies. But it cannot be considered seriously as a substitute 
for active agitation through personal and public discussion 
and a free press. This is true even for the most intelligent 
of communities. But many large groups most in need of leg- 
islative and executive consideration from the political govern- 
ment are not yet sufficiently familiar with the language to un- 
derstand and to weigh short printed arguments, although they 
might be quite capable of arriving at an intelligent decision if 
they could meet together, formally and informally, for a free 
discussion of the issues. 

And because the denial of political liberty in such a com- 
munity rests firmly on arbitrary control of the opportunity of 
the wage earner to work, it is plain that political and social 
domination, where it exists in such cases, is but the child of 
industrial domination, of arbitrary control in the workshop. 
Thus it is apparent that the paramount issue in this and simi- 
lar strikes is the demand for a more democratic control of the 
industry itself. For political and social liberties in isolated 
and privately-controlled communities like the Colorado coal 
camps can be secured only through the securing of a measure 
of industrial liberty. By industrial liberty is here meant an 
organization of industry that will insure to the individual 
wage earner protection against arbitrary power in the hands 
of the employer. 

The Colorado coal mining industry presents an instance of 
the development of natural resources in isolated and unset- 
tled territory by private capital organized in large companies 
and operating on a large scale. The industry had attained a 
considerable development thirty years ago, and many of the 
camps are from fifteen to thirty years old. The testimony of 
operators that at the outset it was necessary for the owners 
to perform all the functions of the civil government and in 
addition to supervise all the activities of community life is 
plausible and worthy of credence. But to justify the continu- 
ance up to the present of this all-inclusive company control, 
it is necessary to show that the inhabitants of the coal camps 


were unwilling or unfitted to perform for themselves those 
functions which ordinarily, in an American community, belong 
to the citizenship. Before considering this question further, 
it will be well to discuss a proposal frequently advanced as a 
remedy for private domination in such communities. 

In addition to other arguments in favor of public ownership 
of such natural resources as coal mines, proponents of public 
ownership urge that only the State or Federal Government can 
be permitted to wield the power that necessarily is lodged with 
the management of a newly-created industrial community situ- 
ated in isolated and unsettled territory. The subject of pri- 
vate ownership of such resources in its relation to industrial 
unrest is considered elsewhere by the Commission. It need 
not be considered here. For while public ownership doubtless 
would have prevented many of the evils that arose in Colo- 
rado, the issue is in reality between the workmen and the man- 
agement, and public ownership with the same men holding 
control and responsibility might have offered no solution. 
The important thing is to discover how the workshop and the 
mine can be organized in relation to the wage earners in such 
fashion that the employees may be assured of justice and the 
greatest possible degree of liberty, regardless of where the 
title to the property rests. Unless this is done, there can be 
no guarantee of industrial justice and peace. For the experi- 
ence of certain European countries where state ownership ex- 
ists proves that public ownership alone is no cure for indus- 
trial evils. 

Coming as amazing evidence of the repudiation of American 
principles by certain small but powerful groups, is the allega- 
tion frequently heard during the Colorado controversy that 
the inhabitants of the coal camps, being largely of foreign 
birth and speech, were incapable of either political self-gov- 
ernment or of exercising a voice in determining their working 
conditions. Such an acceptance of the political philosophy 
that justified slavery half a century ago hardly needs serious 
consideration. Granting that social and political conditions 
in the coal camps could be worse than those which existed un- 


der coal company domination, and granting that they actually 
would be worse under a truly democratic control, the nation 
even then could not complacently tolerate a benevolent despot- 
ism. But no such concession can be made. There is ample 
testimony to prove the capacity for civic and social progress 
inherent in the populations of coal mining camps composed 
just as were those of southern Colorado — of a small minority 
of English-speaking miners and their families and a majority 
of recently-arrived Europeans. Besides the testimony of 
officials of the United Mine Workers who have studied the 
needs of the foreign-born miners and who have watched their 
progress, the Commission has the following significant testi- 
mony from Francis S. Peabody of Chicago, a mine owner who 
operates on a scale larger than that of any of the Colorado 
companies : 

Commissioner O'Connell: In the non-union days you 
speak of, before you came to an agreement, what was the 
standard of the miner's living as compared to the present 

Mr. Peabody: The standard of the work is very much 
better and the standard of his living very much better. 
There has been a wonderful improvement, and I am very 
thankful of it, too. 

Commissioner Weinstock: How do the private habits 
of the mine workers today compare with the private hab- 
its of the mine workers of 1897? 

Mr. Peabody: From my knowledge of them — and 1 
am with them a great deal, I have been building mining 
towns, and so forth — the average is very much higher, I 
think. There is a very much higher class of men, al- 
though, as Mr. Mitchell said, the English speaking and 
Anglo-Saxon element is diminishing very rapidly, and we 
are taking our miners from southern Italy and northern 
Italy, the Hungarians and the Slavs, and so forth, a very 
large percentage of them. We are losing our old English 
and Welsh miners very largely. 


Commissioner Weinstoch: There is a higher degree 
of sobriety now than there was? 

Mr. Peabody: I think so. 

Commissioner Weinstoch: And also a higher grade of 
morality ? 

Mr. Peabody: I think so, I think the whole standard 
of the miner has improved greatly. I have been very 
much interested with my friend (John) Mitchell, (former 
president of the United Mine "Workers), in going to min- 
ers ' houses, to see his picture hanging there rather en- 
shrined. He is rather typical of a higher being. I am 
not joking in this. I am very serious. I am very fond 
of Mitchell and I think his work and the work that has 
been done has elevated the whole standard of their lives. 
Mitchell is there more as an ideal than as a person. He 
has done wonders for the men socially, and in every other 
kind of way. They are no longer beasts, as many of those 
miners were, but they are becoming intelligent, argumen- 
tative, distinct human beings. 

Commissioner Weinstoch: Has not that been brought 
about also largely through the increased leisure that af- 
fords them opportunities for cultivating their minds ? 

Mr. Peabody: I think that is very largely so. 

Commissioner Weinstoch: The development of their 
work in the unions? 

Mr. Peabody: Yes. These debating societies, and the 
unions are debating societies. 

It should be noted that Mr. Mitchell was in charge of the 
Colorado strike of 1903-4, which in bitterness paralleled that 
of 1913-14, and that the men who led the recent strike were 
lieutenants and associates of Mitchell. 

Again in his testimony before the Commission Mr. Peabody 

Commissioner Delano: I judge from what you said 
about the improvement of the miners, do you ascribe any 


of that to the existence of the organization and the ex- 
istence of the agreement that the organization has brought 
about ! Have their moral standards improved, and their 
living standards improved! 

Mr. Peabody: I think it has had a great deal to do with 
the improvement, their officers, and talks and teachings of 
their officers, the fact that they were getting better wages, 
everything has added to that. 

The Acting Chairman: Have you had occasion to ob- 
serve — I suppose you never have had occasion to observe 
the Italian and Polish people in the unorganized places, 
as to how they compare in discipline, and so on, where 
they are not organized! 

Mr. Peabody: Yes; I have been in unorganized, non- 
union villages, where the standard seems to be lower than 
the same class of men that I find in our own districts, 
union districts. 

Mr. Peabody 's testimony is corroborated by the reports of 
investigators for the Commission, who have visited the coal 
mining towns of Pennsylvania where foreign-born miners are 
members of the United Mine Workers. (See Perlman report 
on anthracite region.) 

Assuming, as we must, that the miners of southern Colorado 
are capable of exercising the rights guaranteed every man by 
the laws of the land, the question remains whether or not they 
have hitherto submitted to the industrial, political and social 
domination of the companies without protest. If this were 
the fact, then the revolt of 1913-14 might more easily be at- 
tributed to agitation by union officials from other districts and 
not to the miners' deep-seated resentment and their determi- 
nation to obtain their rights and liberties. 

The history of the coal mining industry shows that, far from 
living complacently under company rule, the Colorado miners 
have revolted time and again during the past thirty years. 
Strikes have occurred each ten years since 1883. In 1903, dur- 
ing John Mitchell's incumbency as president of the United 


Mine Workers, miners in the same camps affected by the re- 
cent strike quit work for similar reasons and under circum- 
stances very much resembling those of the 1913 strike. The 
report of the United States Bureau of Labor shows that the 
history of this earlier strike was almost identical with the his- 
tory of the strike of 1913. Strikers and their leaders were 
deported from the state by the military authorities of Colo- 
rado; large numbers of armed guards in the employ of the 
companies terrorized the strikers ' communities and ruthlessly 
disregarded their civil rights. The strike was defeated by 
these methods, and the mines were re-opened with strike break- 
ers recruited from the immigrant population of non-union 
eastern coal mining towns. Lacking as they were in radical 
or revolutionary background, these strike breakers themselves 
struck ten years later. 

The recurrence of these strikes as evidence of the miners' 
intense dissatisfaction is strengthened by the difficulties that 
attended their efforts to organize and the hardships that in- 
evitably were to be faced by those who quit work. 

In considering the facts that will be here presented, too 
much emphasis cannot be laid on the close relationship, al- 
ready pointed out, that exists between the purely economic 
status of the inhabitants of the coal camps on the one hand, 
and their social and political status on the other. Nothing 
has come home with greater force in the course of the investi- 
gations of the Commission than the realization that men and 
women who are economically subservient cannot be politically 
free, that the forms of democracy and the guarantees of Amer- 
ican institutions are hollow and meaningless in communities 
where the many must depend on the favor of the few for the 
opportunity to obtain food, clothing and shelter. 

Nor must the importance of the issue here raised be mini- 
mized in the belief that the Colorado camps stand in a pe- 
culiar and exceptional case. Not only are many great indus- 
tries carried on under similar conditions, with entire commu- 
nities depending upon enterprises under centralized control, 
but even in the larger industrial centers, the opportunities to 


obtain relief from oppressive conditions by shifting employ- 
ment are rapidly lessening. The Commission's records pre- 
sent evidence (See Los Angeles, transcript of hearing), that 
a city of more than 350,000 may be brought under an economic 
control almost as arbitrary as that charged against the Colo- 
rado mine operators. And while in this city the wage earners 
were free to seek relief in a radical political movement, their 
efforts thus far have failed, because the wage earners found 
themselves a minority in a community where the majority 
proved ignorant of and indifferent to the issues involved. 

It is believed that public opinion is all-powerful, and that 
more is to be hoped from an intelligent public understanding 
of the issues involved in such instances than from any other 
agency. For there is no influence strong enough to prevent 
an irresistible popular demand for effective remedies if the 
public come to a realization that the principles and ideals for 
which men fought and died in 1776 and 1861 are here at stake. 

Statements of fact in this report will be based on testimony 
given before the Commission at public hearings in Denver, 
New York and Washington, and also upon documentary evi- 
dence gathered by the Commission and its agents. Wherever 
such statements seem subject to controversy, specific reference 
will be made to the authority. 

In the transcripts of public hearings and other records of 
the Commission may be found in great detail all of the uncon- 
troverted facts relating to the strike, as well as the contro- 
verted claims of the principals on each side, and this report 
will undertake to set forth an analysis of the facts and to 
emphasize their significance without recounting the history 
of the strike in greater detail than is needful for the purpose. 



Causes of the Stkike. 

The Colorado strike was a revolt by whole communities 
against arbitrary economic, political and social domination 
by the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company and the smaller coal 
mining companies that followed its lead. This domination 
has been carried to such an extreme that two entire counties of 
southern Colorado for years have been deprived of popular 
government, while large groups of their citizens have been 
stripped of their liberties, robbed of portions of their earn- 
ings, subjected to ruthless persecution and abuse, and reduced 
to a state of economic and political serfdom. Not only the 
government of these counties, but of the state, has been 
brought under this domination and forced or induced to do 
the companies ' bidding, and the same companies have even 
flouted the will of the people of the nation as expressed by 
the President of the United States. 

Economic domination was achieved by the Colorado Fuel 
& Iron Co. and its followers through the ruthless suppression 
of unionism, accomplished by the use of the power of sum- 
mary" discharge, the black list, armed guards, and spies, and 
by the active aid of venal state, county and town officials, who 
placed the entire machinery of the law at the disposal of the 
companies in their persecution of organizers and union mem- 

This economic domination was maintained by the compa- 
nies in order that they might be free to obey or disregard 
state laws governing coal mining as they pleased; arbitrarily 
determine wages and working conditions ; and retain arbitrary 
power to discharge without stated cause. The power to dis- 
charge was in turn used as a club to force employees and their 
families to submit to company control of every activity in the 
mining communities, from the selling of liquor and groceries 
to the choice of teachers, ministers of the gospel, election 
judges, and town and county officials, In the cases of several 


companies, the suppression of unionism was used also to deny 
checkweighmen to the men in order that the miners might be 
cheated of part of their earnings. 

Political domination was achieved by the companies by the 
use of their monopoly of employment to suppress free speech, 
free press and free assembly, by the appointment of company 
officials as election judges, by the formation of a political part- 
nership with the liquor interests, and, in the case of the Colo- 
rado Fuel & Iron Company, also by the expenditure of large 
sums of money to influence votes during campaigns, and by re- 
sort to other forms of fraud and corruption. Where a public 
official refused to do their bidding, he was whipped into line 
through pressure from interests that responded to the eco- 
nomic power of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company and its 

This political domination was maintained by the compa- 
nies in order that they might ignore or defy state laws en- 
acted to safeguard the interests of their employees, prevent 
legislation by state or county unfavorable to their interests 
and obtain such legislation as they wished, control coroners 
and judges and thus prevent injured employees from collect- 
ing damages ; and flagrantly disregard the constitutional and 
statutory guarantees that otherwise would have prevented 
them from procuring the imprisonment, deportation or killing 
of union organizers and strikers. 

The policies and acts of the executive officials of the Colo- 
rado Fuel & Iron Company, and of the other companies that 
acted with them, had the hearty support and endorsement of 
the greatest and most powerful financial interest in America, 
that of John D. Rockefeller, and his son, John D. Rockefeller, 
Jr., who controlled the company through ownership of ap- 
proximately 40 per cent of its stocks and bonds. Letters from 
Mr. Rockefeller,* Jr., heartily approving of his company 's re- 
fusal to meet representaives of the strikers, of the measures 
taken to suppress the strike, and of the coercion of the gov- 

*The name "Mr. Rockefeller" is hereafter used to designate Mr. Rocke- 
feller, Jr. 


ernor that resulted in throwing the state troops on the side 
of the owners, were shown not only to executive officers of 
his company, but to other operators who followed its lead, and 
his support contributed largely to the unyielding and lawless 
policy that finally resulted in the horrors of the Ludlow massa- 
cre and the intervention of the federal government. 

After the system of political and economic absolutism out- 
lined above had driven the miners to revolt, the owners not 
only obstinately refused to admit the possibility of any griev- 
ance, but at a time when they could have prevented a strike 
by merely granting a conference to the union officials, they 
chose instead to refuse the conference and in doing so made 
themselves responsible for the disasters and tragedy that fol- 
lowed. Letters from the president and chairman of the ex- 
ecutive board of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company to Mr. 
Kockef eller 's office show that these officers fully realized the 
gravity of the situation before the strike, and also that they 
believed a strike could have been averted by the mere grant- 
ing of a conference. Yet their refusal even to meet repre- 
sentatives of the union had from the beginning the warm ap- 
proval and endorsement of Mr. John D. Eockefeller, Jr. 

The refusal of the operators to accede to any plan for set- 
tlement involving a personal meeting between themselves and 
the strike leaders or any slightest recession from their orig- 
inal attitude continued throughout the strike, and eventually 
took the form of a rejection, amounting to a rebuff, of a plan 
that was urged upon them by the president of the United 
States and that was supported by the public opinion of the 
Nation. This continued and persistent defiance of the pub- 
lic interest, as that interest was urged upon them by the high- 
est representative of the people, continued to have the sup- 
port and endorsement of Mr. Rockefeller, without which 
there is doubt that it could have been sustained. 

Mr. Rockefeller not only rebuffed the President by de- 
nying his earnest request, but, if the letters of his agents may 
be relied upon, he apparently deceived the President and the 
public by means of the Company's letter of rejection. This 


letter was written by President Welborn in collaboration with 
Mr. Ivy L. Lee, a member of Mr. Rockefeller's personal staff, 
whom he had sent to Colorado for the purpose. Mr. Rocke- 
feller's personal staff in New York had become impressed 
with the strong public sentiment supporting the President's 
proposal, and in drafting their letter of rejection to the Presi- 
dent. Messrs. Welborn and Lee inserted the following: 

A plan to secure harmonious relations in some indus- 
tries or sections of the countiy would not necessarily ap- 
ply to our peculiar conditions. We are now developing 
an even more comprehensive plan, embodying the results 
of our practical experience, which will, we feel confident, 
result in a closer understanding between ourselves and 
our men. This plan contemplates not only provision for 
the redress of grievances, but for a continuous effort to 
promote the welfare and the good will of our employees. 

This letter was signed by Mr. Welborn and was dispatched 
on September 18, 1914. On the following day, September 19, 
Mr. Welborn wrote to Mr. Murphy, Mr. Rockefeller's personal 
attorney in New York: 

I appreciate your very thoughtful letter of the 16th 
inst., with suggestions for consideration in the event 


Every statement of fact contained in the foregoing sum- 
mary will be established in this report by quotations from the 
correspondence or testimony of responsible executive officials 
of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company and of Mr. Rocke- 
feller and members of his personal staff. If this company is 
mentioned more frequently than others it is because the Colo- 
rado Fuel & Iron Company was the largest operator in Colo- 
rado, and admittedly led the others in formulating and carry- 
ing out policies during the strike. 

As a result of the failure of the strike and the political ac- 
tivity of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company and its associ- 


ates in the campaign of 1914, the power of the coal companies 
in Colorado is tod^y greater than ever before. The Commis- 
sion is told by Mr. W. L. Mackenzie King, expert on industrial 
relations for Mr. Rockefeller, Jr., that Mr. Rockefeller's will 
and conscience are today the most potent factor to be consid- 
ered in any effort to bring about an improvement of condi- 
tions. While physical and material conditions in the coal 
camps may be improved to some extent as a result of the pub- 
licity given to existing abuses, these improvements, if they 
come, will be granted as a charity, and there is as yet no indi- 
cation that the inhabitants of the coal camps are nearer the 
achievement of industrial and political democracy than they 
were when the strike began. On the other hand, the arrest, 
prosecution and conviction of union officials and strikers, with 
the aid of attorneys and detectives in the employ of the Colo- 
rado Fuel & Iron Company, and by direction of public officials 
placed in office largely through the company 's influence, indi- 
cate plainly that the reverse is true. How the Colorado Fuel 
& Iron Company obtained the new lease of political power by 
which it procured these prosecutions is well shown by the fol- 
lowing extract from the testimony of Mr. L. M. Bowers, chair- 
man of the executive department of the company, given be- 
fore the Commission m Washington on May 24. Mr. Bowers 
had testified that the Company turned 150 men out of its 
offices on election day to work for prohibition, which was 
bound up with the candidacies of Mr. Carlson for governor 
and Mr. Farrar for attorney general. Both these candidacies 
were successful. 

Mr. Bowers: Let me explain. I don't mean we turned 
them out to carry the election. It was on election day, 
but we were out on the campaign and had a fight on and 
had practically no funds to carry on the campaign, and 
they wanted men to do the work, to do the ward work 
and distribute literature and all that sort of thing; and 
the coal operators, not only the coal operators but every- 
body that was interested in the question of prohibition 
at the election turned out their office men, and I had been 
— by the way I had nothing to do with picking out that 


one hundred and fifty men, and I did not know it until 
the next day after they had been ont. 

Chairman Walsh: Didn't you use the prohibition 
sentiment that was strong in the State to get support for 
what you called the law and order platform, that was, 
for the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company and the others 
to aid in the ruthless prosecution of the strikers and the 
union officers, and a relentless policy of suppressing those 

Mr. Bowers: It was all interlinking and locked to- 

The company's deep interest in prohibition quite slips 
President Welborn's mind when he writes to Mr. Rockefeller 
the following exultant letter, dated Nov. 6, 1914: 

My Dear Mr. Rockefeller : 

According to the figures received today, which are prac- 
tically complete, the plurality of Carlson, Republican can- 
didate for governor, over Patterson, is approximately 
33,000. The plurality of Farrar, Democratic candidate 
for attorney general, over his next opponent, the Repub- 
lican, is almost 38,000. 

Farrar is the present incumbent in the office to which 
he has just been elected, and has been about the only re- 
liable force for law and order in the State House. His 
re-election serves to emphasize the sentiment in favor of 
law and order, expressed in the election of the main part 
of the Republican ticket. 

Mr. Farrar has been very actively engaged for several 
months in connection with the work of grand juries in 
various coal counties, where indictments have been 
brought against those who participated in the rioting. 
Very truly yours, 

(Signed) J. F. Welborn. 


Mr. Bockefeller also forgets the prohibition cause, on ac- 
count of which Mr. Bowers says 150 men were turned out of 
the Company's office as election workers. He writes: 

Dear Mr. Welborn : 

I have just returned to the city, after an absence of 
several weeks in the South with my wife, and find your 
letter of Nov. 26th regarding the gratifying plurality for 
Carlson for Governor and Farrar for Attorney General. 
It would seem that the election of this Republican Gov- 
ernor and the re-election of this Democratic Attorney 
General, both of whom have established clear records as 
to their strong stand for law and order, would indicate 
that the sentiment of the people of Colorado is for law 
and order, quite irrespective of party lines. 
Very cordially, 
(Signed) John D. Rockefeller, Jr. 

In pursuance of the "law and order" policy on which they 
were elected, Governor Carlson and Attorney General Far- 
rar have proceeded vigorously with the prosecution of union 
officials and strikers. Their most conspicuous success came 
with the conviction on a charge of murder in the first degree 
of Mr. John R. Lawson, member of the executive board of 
the United Mine Workers of America and the most conspicu- 
ous Colorado official of that organization. Mr. Lawson is an 
old resident of Colorado. He had worked his way from 
breaker boy to a position where he commands the respect and 
friendship of large numbers of the state's best citizens. He 
has appeared twice before the Commission, and members of 
the Commission and its agents have investigated carefully his 
record and character. As a consequence, he is believed to be 
a man of exceptionally high character and a good citizen in 
every sense of the term. The judge before whom he was tried 
was appointed by Governor Carlson after serving the Colo- 
rado Fuel & Iron Company as attorney and assisting in the 
preparation of cases against strikers. The panel from which 
the jury was drawn was selected by the Sheriff of Las Ani- 


mas County, an official whose sympathies have been with the 
mine owners from the beginning. Mnch of the evidence on 
which he was convicted came from men in the employ of a de- 
tective agency retained by the coal companies. The killing 
of John Nimmo, a mine guard, by the strikers during one of 
the many skirmishes between them and the deputies was the 
crime for which Mr. Lawson was convicted. No effort was 
made to prove that he fired the fatal shot. He was held re- 
sponsible for the death of Nimmo because he was leading 
the strike and was at the Ludlow tent colony on the day of 
the battle. Nimmo was one of a small army of deputy sher- 
iffs, employed and paid by the coal companies and deputized 
by subservient sheriffs who made little or no effort to investi- 
gate their records. Thus Sheriff Jefferson Farr of Huerfano 
County testified before this Commission that the men to 
whom he gave deputies ' commissions might have been, so far 
as he knew, red-handed murderers fresh from the scene of 
their crimes. That many guards deputized in this illegal 
fashion and paid by the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company were 
men of the lowest and most vicious character has been clearly 
established. That their function was to intimidate and harass 
the strikers had been demonstrated in the strike of 1903, 
1904, and had been made apparent early in the present strike 
by the shooting to death of Gerald Lippiatt, a union organizer, 
in the streets of Trinidad immediately after the calling of the 
strike, by a Baldwin-Felts detective employed by the Colo- 
rado Fuel & Iron Company and its associates and deputized 
by the sheriff of Las Animas County. In fact it was to these 
deputies, then masquerading as national guardsmen, that na- 
tional guard officers attempted to attribute the murder, loot- 
ing and pillage that accompanied the destruction of the Lud- 
low tent colony of strikers later in the strike. 

On August 17 the Supreme Court of Colorado issued an 
order prohibiting Judge Granby Hillyer, who presided at Mr. 
Lawson 's trial, from presiding at other trials of strikers or 
strike leaders, on the ground that he had been, just prior to 
his appointment, an attorney for the Colorado Fuel & Iron 
Company and the other operators. The Court also issued a 


writ of supersedas permitting the Lawson case to come be- 
fore it on its merits. 

The prosecution and conviction of Mr. Lawson under these 
circumstances, and his sentence to life imprisonment at hard 
labor, marked the lowest depths of the prostitution of Colo- 
rado's government to the will of the Colorado Fuel & Iron 
Company and its associates. It is the crowning infamy of 
all the infamous record in Colorado of American institutions 
perverted and debauched by selfish private interests. It is 
anarchism stripped of every pretense of even that chimerical 
idealism that fires the unbalanced mind of the bomb thrower. 
It is anarchism for profits and revenge, and it menaces the 
security and integrity of American institutions as they seldom 
have been menaced before. 

Attorney General Farrar's bias in favor of the owners and 
his conception of fairness is well shown by his comment on the 
grand jury which met at Trinidad in August, 1914, and which 
under his direction returned indictments against 124 strikers 
and strike leaders. Of this jury Mr. Farrar testified before 
the Commission in Denver: 

I desire to say here that regardless of the reports which 
have been made, I have never seen a more fair-minded 
body of men gathered together under conditions such as 
prevailed there than were the twelve men who consti- 
tuted that grand jury, and the charges which were made 
that they were absolutely one-sided and partisan are abso- 
lutely without foundation whatever. 

Following is the composition of this grand jury as reported 
by Mr. John A. Fitch of the staff of The Survey, an investi- 
gator of established reliability and fairness : 

J. S. Caldwell, proprietor of a shoe store. Formerly 
with the Colorado Supply Company, the company store 
department of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. 

James Roberts, public trustee. Secretary to F. R. Wood, 
president of the Temple Fuel Company. 


Charles Rapp, assistant cashier Trinidad National Bank, 
of which W. J. Murray, general manager of the Victor- 
American Fuel Company is stockholder and director. 
Formerly with Colorado Supply Company. 

Henry C. Cossam, rancher. Deputy sheriff since April 
25, 1914. Participated in one of the so-called battles. 

J. H. Wilson, real estate and insurance agent. Deputy 
sheriff since September 30, 1909. In charge of the 
deputies who attacked the Forbes tent colony October 
17, 1913. 

William C. Riggs, rancher, whose son, W. E. Riggs, has 
been a deputy sheriff since January 20, 1911, and was 
in some of the battles in the fall of 1913. 

J. W. Davis, a Trinidad barber. 

D. J. Herron, life insurance agent in Trinidad. 

E. E. Phillips, rancher, Hoehne, Colo. 
John Webber, a Trinidad merchant. 

Frank Godden, proprietor Hotel St. Elmo, Trinidad. 
David West, justice of the peace, Aguilar, Colo. 

Mr. Farrar's bias is further indicated by these additional 
extracts from his testimony at Denver : 

Chairman Walsh: What steps, if any, did you take to 
ascertain whether or not the military authorities and 
other authorities of the strike down there were acting in 
conformity with the constitution and statutes of the State, 
and whether or not the civil authorities were being de- 
prived in any way of their powers! 

General Farrar: Very little. During the time the mili- 
tia was there, I was not in touch with the situation in an 
official capacity, except as it came to me through the 
Governor with the exception of one or two instances. 
General Chase and I did not have any conference. He 
was at Trinidad, and during the time the militia was in 
the field I was not at Trinidad although on two occasions 
I sent my deputy down to Trinidad, in order to be able 


to assist along certain lines which were then under dis- 
cussion. And I therefore say that my relationship with 
the military authorities was largely indirectly through 
the Governor. I did, of course, know in a general way 
what was being done down there, and what lines were 
being followed; but it was not a definite daily report or 
information coming to me. I will say further in that re- 
spect that there were a number of attorneys in the Na- 
tional Guard, and that some of these were advising Gen- 
eral Chase as to the local situation. My advice was, of 
course, of a more general nature and was always to the 
Governor with the exception of the two occasions when 
General Chase and I met in conference here. 

Chairman Walsh: Do you know whether or not the 
testimony taken before the Military Commission, of which 
Major Boughton was the head, was preserved? 

General Farrar: No, I know nothing of it. I have 
never seen the testimony and can not answer your ques- 

Chairman Walsh: Did your office make any effort to 
ascertain whether or not the civil rights of any person 
had been violated or abused? 

General Farrar: You mean by this Military Commis- 

Chairman Walsh: Yes, by the Military Commission. 
General Farrar: Yes. 

Chairman Walsh: Was there any such abuse or viola- 

General Farrar: Not that I was able to learn. Now 
I must qualify that by saying that I have not seen the tes- 
timony and my information concerning it is of a general 
nature. * * * 

Ashed by Chairman Walsh: "Have you ever gone over 
the list (of National Guardsmen) to ascertain whether 
or not the law had been viola&d in reference to the en- 


rollment of the men in the mine!" he replied: "Only 
through consulting the officers in charge of that matter. f ' 

Chairman Walsh: What steps, if any, have been taken 
by your office to investigate the occurrence at Ludlow of 
April 20, 1914? 

General Farrar: I have taken every opportunity or 
every step which opportunity afforded me. As stated be- 
fore I did not have and have not seen the testimony — the 
evidence taken by the Military Court Martial, relative to 
that question. * * * 

Chairman Walsh: I am asked to inquire of you if you 
know about the looting of saloons and the destruction and 
confiscating of liquors in the Snodgrass store at Ludlow, 
also the complete destruction of bakeries, rooming houses 
and private residences at Ludlow by the militia? 

General Farrar: I know nothing of it. 

General Farrar did give his attention to the question of 
whether or not the State troops acted legally under Governor 
Amnion's original orders, prohibiting them from acting as 
escorts for imported strikebreakers. He testified before this 
Commission that he went to Governor Amnions and advised 
him that such a policy was not justified by law and should be 

The same authorities who conducted this and other success- 
ful prosecutions of strikers have taken no steps to prosecute 
Lieutenant K. E. Linderfelt of the Colorado National Guard, 
or other members of the guard who took part in the wanton 
slaughter of three unarmed strikers held prisoners at Lud- 
low, and in the burning of the Ludlow tent colony which re- 
sulted in the death by suffocation and burning of thirteen 
women and children. Yet at the coroner's inquest a doctor 
who examined the body of Louis Tikas, one of the slain strik- 
ers, testified that a blow on the head, dealt by Lieut. Linder- 
felt with the stock of his rifle, was so severe that it might have 
caused death even had Tikas not been shot three times through 
the body as he lay prostrate on the ground by men under Lin- 


derfelt's command. It is true that Lieut. Linderfelt and other 
members of the guard were tried by a court martial composed 
of their fellow officers, and that trifling demotions in rank 
were assessed as punishment. Nor have the same authorities 
taken steps to prosecute officials and directors of the Colorado 
Fuel and Iron Company, in spite of evidence gathered by the 
Commission, and which has become common knowledge, that 
these officials through their agents and subordinates created 
a private army of armed guards and later procured the enlist- 
ment of these gunmen in the militia, and of well-substantiated 
charges that these disreputable agents of the company in the 
guise of militiamen committed various crimes from robbery, 
burglary and arson to murder. 

The prosecution of Mr. Lawson and many other strikers and 
union officials was undertaken and conducted in compliance 
with the stand taken by the present Governor and the present 
Attorney General during their campaign for election in favor 
of "law and order." Their conduct since taking office must 
be considered a confirmation of the charge made by their 
political opponents during the campaign that in standing for 
"law and order" they were in reality standing for the coal 
operators against the strikers, for industrial absolutism 
against industrial democracy, and that their conception of 
maintaining law and order was the ruthless suppression of 
the strike and imprisonment or execution of the men who dared 
to lead it, this to serve as an object lesson to others who might 
attempt to lead a similar revolt in the future. 

This report has gone at some length into the present situa- 
tion in Colorado before proceeding with a discussion of the 
strike itself, in order that the reader may understand at the 
outset that the problems involved in the strike are present 
problems, and of more than academic and historical interest. 

Industrial and political absolutism might have continued 
indefinitely in southern Colorado without attracting the atten- 
tion of the nation had it not been for the existence of a strong 
and aggressive labor organization to which the miners could 
turn for leadership and financial assistance. This organiza- 


tion is the United Mine Workers of America, an international 
union with approximately 400,000 members in this country 
and Canada. It was represented in Colorado by Mr. Lawson, 
a member of the executive board, Mr. John McLennan, presi- 
dent of District 15, Mr. E. L. Doyle, secretary of District 15, 
and by other organizers and officials of local unions. For three 
years preceding the strike in the southern field, members of 
the union employed in the northern Colorado coal field had 
been on strike and engaged in a losing struggle with the mine 
owners in that field. This strike involved comparatively few 
men and was comparatively insignificant. 

Officials of the United Mine Workers were pledged to efforts 
to extend the principles of collective bargaining and industrial 
democracy as rapidly as possible to coal mining districts 
where they were not applied. Familiar with conditions exist- 
ing in the camps of southern Colorado, and knowing the in- 
tense dissatisfaction of the miners, officials of the union, in 
the summer of 1913, sent organizers into the district to in- 
crease the union membership, and at the same time began an 
effort to obtain a conference with officials of the mining com- 
panies. Frank Hayes, vice president of the national organi- 
zation, came to Colorado and formed a policy committee com- 
posed of himself, Mr. Lawson, Mr. McLennan and Mr. Doyle. 
Their first act was to call upon Governor Ammons and re- 
quest him to use his efforts to bring about a conference with 
the leading operators. Governor Ammons endeavored to ar- 
range such a meeting and conferred a number of times with 
Mr. Welborn, Mr. Osgood, and Mr. Brown, representing re- 
spectively the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, the Victor- 
American Fuel Company, >and the Rocky Mountain Fuel Com- 
pany. They refused to meet with the union representatives, 
on the ground that such a meeting would mean recognition of 
the union. 

Failing in this effort, Governor Ammons sent Deputy Labor 
Commissioner Edwin V. Brake to the mining districts to make 
an investigation, with a view to averting a strike. Mr. Brake 
arrived in Trinidad, August 16th, and conferred with officers 


and directors of the Chamber of Commerce, and with labor 
leaders and local officials of the company. He returned to 
Denver on August 23, and reported to Governor Ammons 
that Trinidad was Med with armed guards and detectives, 
that one of the company's detectives had shot and killed a 
union organizer on the street, and that unless something were 
done at once, an outbreak was inevitable, as the feeling among 
the miners was intense. He recommended that the Governor 
send for the sheriffs of the two counties, and insist that they 
disarm every man in the district, and that the Governor should 
remove them from office if they refused. 

Officials of the United Mine Workers have testified that 
they were anxious to avoid a strike, because of the certainty 
of violence, bloodshed, and suffering, and because the re- 
sources of the national organization had been depleted by 
strikes in other states. On August 26, 1913, the Policy Com- 
mittee sent the following letter to every coal operator in the 
district : 

Dear Sir : 

For many years the coal miners of Colorado have been 
desirous of working under union conditions, and as you 
no doubt know, have made this desire known on innumer- 
able occasions, a large number of them being discharged 
because of their wishes in this respect. 

While we know your past policy has been one of keen 
opposition to our union, we are hopeful at this time that 
you will look at this matter in a different way, and will 
meet with us in joint conference for the purpose of 
amicably adjusting all points at issue in the present con- 
troversy. We are no more desirous of a strike than you 
are, and it seems to us that we owe it to our respective 
interests, as well as the' general public, to make every 
honest endeavor to adjust our differences in an enlight- 
ened manner. 

It ought to be evident to yourself and your associates 
that Colorado cannot stand alone in opposition to our 
movement. The operators of Wyoming, Montana, Wash- 


ington, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, 
and Iowa, embracing all the important coal producing 
states west of the Mississippi River, have been working 
under contracts with our union for years, and it goes 
without saying that the operators in the above mentioned 
States, who once held the same opinion concerning our 
union that you now seem to hold, are at this time well 
satisfied with our organization, and are much pleased over 
the security and stability given to the industry through 
the medium of the trade agreement. 

Why oppose us here, spending millions of dollars in 
an industrial conflict for no good purpose? Why is it 
not possible and practical for you to do in this state what 
the operators in all the neighboring states have already 

We feel sure that you appreciate the gravity of this 
situation, and will do your part to meet it at this time, 
when no sting will be left behind, which is always the re- 
sult of a strike settlement. 

Let us meet now as friends and proceed to settle this 
entire controversy with honor to ourselves, with credit 
to our people, and with faith in each other. 

Hoping you will favor us with a prompt reply we beg 
to remain, 

Sincerely yours, 

Policy Committee. 

With the exception of two small operators, the mine owners 
did not reply to this request for a conference. On September 
8, 1913, the Committee addressed a second letter to the opera- 
tors, notifying them that the miners would hold a conven- 
tion in Trinidad September 15, and inviting them to attend. 
The Committee stated that this was a final effort for peace, 
and expressed the belief that if the operators would meet them 
in joint convention, all differences would be amicably adjusted. 
None of the operators replied or attended the convention. 

In the meantime, Secretary Wilson of the Department of 


Labor of the Federal Government, had sent Mr. Ethelbert 
Stewart to the offices of Mr. Eockefeller in New York, in the 
hope of obtaining the latter 's aid in averting a strike. Mr. 
Stewart was unable to see Mr. Eockefeller, but was informed 
by one of his attorneys that the entire matter was being han- 
dled by the executive officials of the company in Colorado. 
Mr. Stewart then went to Colorado and endeavored to bring 
about a conference between the operators and the union offi- 
cials. The operators refused to consider such a conference. 
On September 15 the convention of miners was held at Trin- 
idad. Whether or not the men who sat in this convention and 
who voted for the strike, were representatives of the great 
body of miners, is a subject of controversy. It is regarded as 
relatively unimportant, in its bearing on the state of mind of 
the mining communities, and their attitude toward a strike. 

Spies, camp marshals, and armed guards infested the min- 
ing camps and the city of Trinidad, and the miner who might 
wish to attend such a convention, or to attend local meetings 
for the selection of delegates, knew that to do so would be 
to incur prompt discharge and expulsion from the town. 

In Huerfano County alone, 326 men, many imported from 
other states, had been commissioned as deputy sheriffs by 
Sheriff Jefferson Farr prior to September 1. Sheriff Farr 
admitted, before this Commission, that for all he knew they 
might have been red-handed murderers, fresh from the scenes 
of their crimes, and that they were employed, armed, and paid 
by the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company and the other large 
companies. The first violence had already occurred in the 
killing of Gerald Lippiatt, a union organizer, who was shot 
down on a street in Trinidad by a detective in the employ of 
the operators. 

The convention voted to call a strike for September 2#, 1913. 
On that day, from 8,000 to 10,000 miners, comprising from 40 
to 100 per cent of the employees at the various camps, packed 
their meager household belongings on carts and wagons, and, 
accompanied by their women and children, moved down the 
canyons through a drenching fall of snow, sleet, and rain, to 


the tent colonies that had been established by the nnion offi- 
cials. This sudden exodus became necessary because, in 
many of the coal camps, the companies owned every house 
and every foot of ground. No more eloquent proof could be 
given of the intense discontent of the miners and their fami- 
lies, and of their determination to endure any hardship rather 
than remain at work under existing conditions. 

From the day when it became apparent that there was no 
hope of obtaining a conference with the operators, or of gain- 
ing relief for the miners without a strike, officials of the United 
Mine Workers placed themselves, and the resources of their 
national organization at the disposal of the miners, and as- 
sumed full charge of the conduct of the strike. 

Those strikers who had not previously joined the union 
were enrolled on their arrival in the tent colonies, and addi- 
tional local unions were formed, the members electing their 
own officers. A system of strike benefits was instituted, pay- 
ments coming from the funds of the national organization. 
Officials of the union ordered a supply of tents for the colo- 
nies, and when the strikers arrived, the newly-created com- 
munities were organized for community life. Mr. Lawson 
spent much of his time with the strikers in their tent colonies, 
endeavoring by personal influence to maintain harmony and 
good spirits within the colonies, and to discourage the more 
reckless from acts of violence. 

The part played by officials of the United Mine Workers, 
just before and immediately after the strike was called, has 
been recorded at this point because of the allegation of the 
operators that the strike was caused solely by the activity of 
these officials, and was forced on their employes against the 
latter 's will. The conclusion here reached is that the agita- 
tion, leadership, and financial assistance given by the United 
Mine Workers of America, caused the strike only in the sense 
that they hastened and made more effectual a revolt against 
intolerable conditions. 

Disregarding, for the present, the seven formal demands of 
the strikers, this report will first take up the alleged causes of 


the strike, as set forth in the Brief for the Striking Miners, 
filed with a snb-committee of the Committee on Mines and 
Mining, Honse of Representatives, Sixty-third Congress, by- 
Horace N. Hawkins, attorney for the United Mine Workers, 
and E. P. Costigan and James H. Brewster, special counsel 
for the strikers before the Congressional Committee. In this 
brief the strikers set forth five alleged causes, as follows : 

1. Ignorance of the owners of the great coal produc- 
ing properties concerning actual conditions under which 
their employees live and labor. 

2. The lack of any proper sense of personal responsi- 
bility on the part of those owners, for what is wrong 
in those conditions. 

3. The maintenance by the coal-mining operators of 
a modern system of monopolistic feudalism, with many 
of the evil features of the old feudalism, but without many 
of those features which made it somewhat beneficent. 

4. The insistence by the operators upon their right to 
conduct a vast coal-producing business, — a business in 
reality affected with a public interest, — regardless of how 
their conduct may affect society at large, and as if it were 
a small private business. 

5. The unwillingness on the part of the operators to 
concede to their employees the right of effective organi- 
zation, while themselves maintaining a complete combi- 
nation and organization. 

The first two charges are closely related, and the last three 
are similarly related. Taken together, they constitute a 
charge that the owners of the mining properties, while them- 
selves exhibiting ignorance and indifference regarding the 
welfare of the thousands of men employed in the industry, at 
the same time insisted on denying to these men the right to 
organize in order that they might themselves, through col- 
lective action, seek redress, either directly or through the 


government, for the evils that arose under this absentee, irre- 
sponsible, and ignorant ownership. 

That the leading mine owners were, in fact, ignorant of the 
conditions under which the miners and their families worked 
and lived, is clearly established by the evidence. Mr. Rocke- 
feller, Jr., the most influential single owner, had not visited 
Colorado for ten years, at the time of the strike, nor had he 
attended a directors' meeting during that period. Testifying 
before the Congressional Committee and before this Commis- 
sion, he said that he had "not the slightest idea" of what 
wages the miners received, of what rent the company charged 
them for their houses, or of other details vitally affecting 
their welfare. He excused himself on the plea that in choos- 
ing Mr. Bowers as chairman of the Executive Board, and 
Mr. Welborn as President of the company, he had selected 
men in whose judgment, fairness and humanity he had great 
confidence, and that there his duty ended. In striking con- 
trast with this utter ignorance of actual working and living 
conditions in the coal camps, was the detailed information 
furnished to Mr. Rockefeller by Messrs. Bowers and Welborn, 
regarding the progress of their successful efforts to break 
the strike. 

Such details as wages, working conditions, and the political, 
social, and moral welfare of the 15,000 or 20,000 inhabitants 
of his coal camps, apparently held no interest for Mr. Rocke- 
feller, for as late as April, 1914, he professed ignorance of 
these details. Yet he followed, step by step, the struggle of 
his executive officials to retain arbitrary power, and to pre- 
vent the installation of machinery for collective bargaining, 
by which abuses might automatically be corrected, and he 
supported and encouraged this struggle in every letter he 
wrote to his agents. 

The very suggestion that a miner in southern Colorado 
could have appealed to Mr. Rockefeller personally for the 
removal of a grievance, is an absurdity that need not be con- 
sidered. Indeed, an authorized representative of the United 
States Government, who called on Mr. Rockefeller before the 


strike at his office in New York City, succeeded in seeing only 
one of his attorneys, and by this attorney he was told that the 
questions at issue in Colorado must be handled by the execu- 
tive officials on the ground. 

In Colorado the executive officials of the Colorado Fuel & 
Iron Company, and the owners and officials of the other lead- 
ing companies, maintained their offices in Denver, 200 miles 
north of the mines, which they seldom visited. Neither Mr. 
Bowers nor Mr. Welborn was charged with the actual opera- 
tion of the mines, and knew little about this part of the busi- 
ness. Operations were in charge of Mr. Weitzel, manager of 
the fuel department, whose headquarters were at Pueblo, 
still many miles from the mining camps. Mr. Weitzel visited 
the mines "not frequently," and received reports in turn 
from assistant managers and superintendents. He did not 
talk with the coal miners. He did have a personal acquaint- 
ance with the mine superintendents, "except possibly one or 

Thus there existed a condition wherein all personal rela- 
tionship and personal responsibility vanished at some point 
in the long procession of intermediaries standing between the 
miner in his room underground, and the directors and own- 
ers in New York. His personal contact seldom got beyond 
the foreman or pit boss, himself responsible for results to a 
superintendent, who in turn was responsible to an assistant 
manager, and so on up the scale until the needs and aspira- 
tions and well-being of 6,000 miners and their families ceased 
to exist as pressing realities for the responsible officials whose 
word was law in these communities. 

Indeed, the testimony and letters of Mr. Bowers will clearly 
show that those improvements and concessions which had 
been granted by the company prior to the strike, such as the 
eight hour day, the semi-monthly pay day, and the notice in- 
viting miners to select check weighmen, were granted from 
motives which must be regarded as selfish, and in which a 
desire for the welfare of the miners was secondary at best. 

The record shows, then, that Mr. Rockefeller, controlling 


the company that admittedly led in fixing policies for the 
Colorado operators, had no knowledge of actual conditions in 
the coal camps, and assumed no personal responsibility for 
the welfare of his employees. It shows, further, that he did 
not maintain this aloof attitude after the strike began, but 
threw all his great influence behind the executive officials in 
support of their stubborn resistance to the demand of the 
men for collective bargaining through the only effective or- 
ganization at their disposal. 

The record further shows that responsible executive offi- 
cials in Denver lacked personal knowledge of living and work- 
ing conditions in the coal camps, and personal touch with the 
miners, in almost the same degree as did the controlling direc- 
tors and stockholders. Their information came almost en- 
tirely at second hand, in the reports of subordinates who them- 
selves received much of it at second hand from local officials. 

It establishes clearly the charge that a great gulf of ignor- 
ance, which can be explained only by indifference, stood be- 
tween any responsible owner or manager, and an understand- 
ing of the actual needs and conditions of the miners. In this 
respect the situation was not different from that which exists 
in other industries conducted on a large scale by large corpor- 

This lack of knowledge of actual conditions, and of personal 
touch with their employees, on the part of the owners of large 
industrial corporations, presents one of the most serious prob- 
lems of industrial relations, and is in itself a convincing 
argument that strong labor unions and effective machinery 
for collective bargaining, must be not only permitted, but 
encouraged and insisted upon in such industries. 

The Rev. Eugene S. Gaddis, superintendent of the socio- 
logical department of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, 
during the strike and until February, 1915, testified before 
the Commission, May 19, 1915 : 

For several years prior to the fifteen months' "war" 
in Colorado, neither Bowers nor Welborn were cognizant 
of policies and practices in dealing with the miners, ex- 


cept as represented to them by inferior officers. Mr. 
Bowers took the position that to grant the right of appeal, 
with the type of .characters with whom they had to deal, 
was to invite chaos, — appeals to Welborn, if they were 
considered at all, would only emphasize the severity of 
the regime. He told me, his men in the Boston Building 
did not take complaints over each other's heads; and 
that the camp regime was the same. 

I am glad to say that I know Mr. Welborn disagreed 
with this position. A ' ' down-the-canyon ' ' verdict was 
not likely to be reversed at the office of the general boss, 
for he is the king bolt of the machine that must be kept 
running smoothly. The superintendent can easily erect 
a wall between himself and the division manager, which 
only calloused temerity would tackle. At the bottom of 
the pit with pick and shovel, the miner frequently found 
a grafting pit boss on his back. The camp superinten- 
dents as a whole impress me as most uncouth, ignorant, 
immoral, and in many instances, the most brutal set of 
men that we have ever met. Blasphemous bullies. 

From the foregoing there cannot be the slightest doubt that 
^he strikers were fully within the facts when, in their brief to 
the Congressional Committee, they charged, first, that the 
owners of the great coal-mining properties were ignorant 
concerning the actual conditions under which their employees 
live and labor ; and, second, that there was a lack of any proper 
sense of personal responsibility on the part of these owners 
for what is wrong in those conditions. 

As the other underlying causes of the strike, the strikers 
charged: "the maintenance by the operators of a modern sys- 
tem of monopolistic feudalism, with many of the evil features 
of the old feudalism, but without many of those features which 
made it somewhat beneficent ; the insistence by the operators 
upon their right to conduct a vast coal-producing business, — 
a business in reality affected with a public interest, — regard- 
less of how their conduct may affect society at large, and as 


if it were a small private business ; and the unwillingness on 
the part of the operators to concede to their employees the 
right of effective organization, while themselves maintaining 
a complete combination and organization." 

It has already been pointed out how inseparable are the 
economic elements and the political elements of a system of 
feudalism such as that charged by the strikers in Colorado, 
and the three alleged causes of the strike stated in the fore- 
going must be considered in their relation one to the others. 
For suppression of unionism led to political domination, and 
political domination enabled the continued suppression of 
any attempt to organize. 

That the operators of southern Colorado denied their men 
the right of collective bargaining, is admitted. They refused 
to enter into conference or negotiation with officials of the 
only labor organization to which their men could have be- 
longed, and insisted that they alone must determine wages 
and working conditions, dealing with each miner as an indi- 
vidual, and giving him no recourse if he became dissatisfied, 
except to quit his employment, pack his belongings, and with 
his family leave his home and community to seek work else- 

This freedom to quit his job and remove himself and his 
family to another State, said Mr. John C. Osgood, chief exec- 
utive and owner of the Vict or- American Fuel Company, is suf- 
ficient in itself, and other protection is not needed. Mr. Osgood 
repudiated the entire principle of collective bargaining, de- 
claring that even were the United Mine Workers incorporated 
and financially responsible as an organization, he would refuse 
to deal with them. 

During the strike Mr. Osgood shared with Mr. Welborn, 
president of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, the lead- 
ership of the operators in formulating and carrying out poli- 
cies, and at least during the critical period of the strike they 
worked in perfect harmony. It seems fair to accept his posi- 
tion as more nearly representing that of the operators as a 
whole, than the rather vague and general declaration of some 


of the other mine owners, that they accept the general prin- 
ciple of collective bargaining but refuse to deal with the par- 
ticular union here involved, for particular reasons. Certainly 
Mr. Welborn's objections to recognizing the United Mine 
Workers are urged on grounds that would apply equally as 
well to any organization that could be imagined to exist in 
the same field. 

The reasons assigned by the operators for refusing to deal 
with the United Mine Workers may be summarized as follows : 
That it is an illegal and criminal organization. 
That it violates its contracts. 

That efficiency is diminished, output limited, and acci- 
dents increased when authority is divided between the 
management and the union. 
That the union is unnecessary for the protection of the 
miners ' interests, because better conditions exist under 
a non-union regime. 
That there is no appreciable demand for unionism by 

the miners. 
That it violates the freedom of its members. 
That the union seeks an unwarranted interference with 
the owner's right to manage his property as he sees fit. 

To prove the illegality of the United Mine Workers, the 
operators quote a decision by Judge Dayton, of the Federal 
Court of West Virginia, which has been since overruled by a 
unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals. This charge, 
lodged against an organization that is regularly recognized 
and negotiated with by the employers of 400,000 coal miners 
in this country and Canada, and that numbers among its mem- 
bers a cabinet officer, and a distinguished public official of the 
State of New York, hardly requires further consideration. It 
was lodged early in the strike, as one of the reasons for the 
initial refusal to meet representatives of the Union in confer- 
ence, and therefore does not require here a discussion of al- 
leged lawless acts committed by union officials during the 
present strike. 


The following statement regarding the United Mine Work- 
ers is from the pen of Prof. Edwin R. A. Seligman, of Colum- 
bia University, an economist whose attitude in the Colorado 
strike has been indorsed as fair by the President of the Colo- 
rado Fuel & Iron Company : 

The United Mine Workers of America is not an irre- 
sponsible organization ; on the contrary, it is numerically 
the strongest union in the world ; it has a membership of 
more than 400,000 paying dues to it; it is established in 
practically every coal-producing state in our country, and 
in practically every mining province in Canada; 75 per 
cent of all coal miners on this continent are employed 
under the terms of contracts which the organization nego- 
tiates with mine owners; the relations existing between 
the miners and operators are cordial and friendly; the 
officers of the miners \ union are men of high character 
and marked ability. Mr. John P. White, the president, is 
recognized by employers in the coal industry as a man 
of high ideals, great intelligence, and unquestioned hon- 
esty. Mr. Frank J. Hayes, the vice president, is equally 
well regarded. Mr. Green, the secretary-treasurer, is the 
majority leader in the Ohio State senate, and speaker pro 
tempore of that body. Are these the kind of labor lead- 
ers to be encouraged or to be frowned down? (New York 
Times Annalist for First Week of May, 1914.) 

The violation of contracts by local unions of the United 
Mine Workers is an evil that shows itself with more or less 
frequency in fields where the Union is recognized. Even the 
Colorado operators who had had union experience, including 
General Manager Weitzel, of the Colorado Fuel & Iron 
Company, admit that the union officials endeavor in good faith 
to prevent contract breaking, and they blame the local unions 
and the local leaders. They also charge that union politics 
at times enters into the failure of even the highest officials to 
use their utmost endeavors to prevent such violations. 

Similar charges have been made before the Commission by 


operators in other states. Thus Mr. Peabody, of Chicago, testi- 
fied that he had suffered from the violation of contracts. At the 
same time, he asserts that contracts kept 90 per cent of the time 
are better than no contracts at all, as an insurance of stabil- 
ity, and that he would not willingly go back to non-union con- 
ditions. He further admits that mine owners sometimes break 
contracts with the union, thus confirming in part the plea of 
witnesses for the United Mine Workers that violation of con- 
tract is an evil that exists in all business relations, and that 
the union is on a parity with the owners in the record of such 
violations. They point out that the Colorado operators base 
one of their principal objections to the union on the union 
demand, in organized fields, that the union dues and fines be 
deducted from the wages due to miners, and paid directly by 
the employer to the union ; and they urge that in opposing this 
custom, the operators strike at the most effectual means by 
which union officials may prevent violations of contract. 

The charge that miners protected by the union limit output 
and work less efficiently, cannot be supported by evidence 
gathered by the Commission. On the contrary, Mr. Peabody 
testified that the standard of efficiency, sobriety, and morals 
had risen tremendously since the miners became union mem- 
bers. His testimony on this point has been quoted in the 
introduction to this report. 

That the existence of a strong union slackens discipline, 
and thereby contributes to an increase of accidents, is a charge 
with slightly more backing. Summary dismissals for dis- 
obedience of orders designed to safeguard against accidents 
are rendered more difficult. Mr. Peabody makes this point 
against the unions in his testimony. Union officials assert 
that the charge is unjustified by the facts, and they point to 
the increase in intelligence and sobriety that has taken place 
in organized districts through the influence of the union. They 
also point to the excessive record of fatalities in the non-union 
Colorado mines, a record higher than in any organized dis- 
trict. They assert, further, that only where a strong union 
exists can legislation safeguarding the mines against acci- 


dent be obtained and enforced, and they point to the opposi- 
tion of the Colorado companies to the enactment of such leg- 

In support of their claim that a union is not required for 
the protection of the men's interests, the Colorado operators 
urge that they voluntarily have granted concessions and im- 
provements. It is hard to believe that this contention is made 
in good faith. Letters from Mr. Bowers to Mr. Murphy show 
that concessions and improvements were granted in the mines 
of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, in order to remove 
the incentive of the miners to join the union, and were thus 
directly brought about by the existence of the union in other 

Even after these concessions had been made, the wage scale 
in Colorado remained 10 per cent below the scale in the neigh- 
boring state of Wyoming, where the mine owners recognize 
the United Mine Workers and deal with strong local unions. 
The following extract from a letter from Mr. Bowers to Mr. 
Starr J. Murphy, of Mr. Rockefeller's personal staff, conclu- 
sively proves the part played by the existence elsewhere of 
strong unions in determining conditions in Colorado. It 
was written on September 19, 1913, four days before the strike 
began : 

We have spent a great deal of time, and studied with a 
good deal of care, all the questions in connection with la- 
bor unions among miners and men employed by indus- 
trial corporations during the past two or three years, 
anticipating in time having to meet the demands of union 
labor. We follow the eastern rules of mining as to wages, 
prices per ton and the several different features that ob- 
tain in the mining industries, both where union and non- 
union labor is employed. 

We have found it desirable to take up from time to 
time these questions that were likely to lead to contro- 
versy and study them from every angle, and where we 
could meet them by making certain economic changes 
without loss we have taken the initiative in their appli- 


cation in this mining district. We have been opposed by 
some of our competitor operators, whose notions of fair- 
ness are in our opinion somewhat lopsided, but our posi- 
tion among them was such that we have been able to in- 
augurate and carry out these changes without serious 
criticism on the part of these competitors. Today, they 
are patting us on our backs. 

We studied the eight-hour problem which we knew 
would come up in the form of bills in the Legislature and 
would be pushed through by agitators on the ground who 
were backing them, so we anticipated these matters and 
experimented with eight hour labor. * * * Generally 
speaking, we found that working our mines eight hours 
saved us in overhead expenses and in other ways enough 
to offset any loss that might come from an eight instead 
of a nine or ten hour day in many of our mines. After 
this had been thoroughly settled in our minds, we estab- 
lished an eight hour day for all coal miners, complying 
with the union rules in that respect, but operating as non- 
union mines. * * * ■ Another question that we knew 
would come up in case of agitation was the semi-monthly 

This report will discuss the eight-hour day and the semi- 
monthly pay day later. It is enough here to point out that the 
semi-monthly pay was required by the laws of Colorado, which 
the company had previously violated and ignored, at the time 
when it was granted, and that the people of Colorado had de- 
clared for an eight-hour law many years before. This fact 
is not mentioned in the letter quoted above, and apparently 
Mr. Eockef eller 's agents were not animated by any sudden 
respect for law when they ordered these changes, but solely 
by their desire to defeat unionization. 

The allegation of the operators that their employees did net 
desire to join the union or to go on strike is best answered by 
the fact that 8,000 miners, according to Mr. Bowers' own 
estimate, left their homes with their wives and children on 


September 23 and moved down the canyons through a snow 
storm to take up their residence in the tent colonies. That 
8,000 miners could have been intimidated by a handful of 
union organizers into taking this step is unbelievable. In 
the case of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, President 
Welborn's own estimate is that 70 per cent of their miners 

The complaint of the operators that the United Mine Work- 
ers proposed to invade the personal liberty of the miners is 
based on the custom of the union in other fields of insisting on 
the so-called check-off system. Under this system, the em- 
ployer deducts union dues and fines from the wages of miners 
on pay days, and turns the money thus collected over to the 
union treasurer. By this method it is possible to force every 
miner to join the union, and to penalize him for violating union 
rules. Both union officials and mine owners in organized 
fields have indorsed the scheme as the only effective means of 
enforcing compliance with contracts and agreements between 
the owners and the workmen, and of preventing the enjoyment 
of union advantages by miners who are unwilling to pay their 
share toward the cost of these advantages. The check-off 
system, where it exists, is a subject of more controversy among 
members and officials of labor unions than among mine own- 
ers, who usually recognize its advantages in enforcing com- 
pliance with contracts and preventing unauthorized local 
strikes. For the operators of southern Colorado to urge it 
as one of the objections which animated their opposition to 
the union is disingenuous in the extreme. Without touching 
here on other ways in which these operators have disregarded 
the rights and liberties of their miners, it is enough to point 
out that they have not hesitated to deduct from their em- 
ployees ' wages hospital fees and other charges not voluntarily 
incurred by the miners. 

It is in the last objection that has been cited that the real 
cause of the operators' refusal to negotiate is to be found. 
1 * The union seeks an unwarranted interference with our right 
to manage our properties as we see fit." To concede to their 


employees a voice in determining wages, hours and working 
conditions within the mines, and self-government in their 
towns and villages, was a proposal intolerable to men who for 
years had ruled the mines and the mining communities with 
arbitrary and unchallenged power. 

After alleging inferior quality of output and limitation of 
the right to discharge as specific objections to the union, Mr. 
Bowers in a letter already quoted sums up the evils of union- 
ism as "numerous requirements that practically take away 
the mines from the control of the owners and operators, and 
place them in the hands of these, in many cases, disreputable 
agitators, socialists and anarchists. ' ' 

And Mr. Welborn, asked ' l Do you think that society has no 
interest in the mining of that coal, that it is your business ? ' ' 
replied: "I am very sure it is my business." But he admits 
that without a union men are at the mercy of the employer. 

This defense of the denial of the right to organize comes so 
as an echo from the past that it seems unnecessary to discuss 
here the broad principles that every enlightened employer, 
economist and layman accepts, and which point to collective 
bargaining as the only approach to a solution of the problems 
of industry and democracy. Instead, this report will point 
out the actual results of such denial in the mines and towns of 
southern Colorado, and in doing this will present evidence 
bearing also on the charge that the operators maintained a 
system of feudalism and the charge that they conducted their 
enterprises without regard for the welfare of society. For 
both the existence of a modern feudalism and the operators' 
disregard of the welfare of society must be attributed, in the 
last analysis, to the absence of machinery for effective col- 
lective bargaining. 

With no strong union in the field to limit their power to 
discharge without cause, the Colorado Fuel & Iron Com- 
pany had used this power to build up a powerful political 
machine for the absolute control of town and county govern- 
ment and the partial control of the state government. This 
control was in turn used to keep out union organizers and to 
break strikes. Thus a vicious circle was drawn, industrial 


control leading to political control, and political control main- 
taining industrial control. How the company's political dom- 
ination was achieved is described with great frankness in the 
following letter from Mr. Bowers to Mr. Charles 0. Heydt, 
secretary to Mr. Bockefeller, Jr. It is dated May 13, 1913: 

The Colorado Fuel and Iron Company for many years 
were accused of being the political dictator of southern 
Colorado, and in fact were a mighty power in the entire 
state. When I came here it was said that the C. F. & I. 
Co. voted every man and woman in their employ with- 
out any regard to their being naturalized or not; and 
even their mules, it used to be remarked, were registered 
if they were fortunate enough to possess names. Any- 
how, a political department was maintained at a heavy 
expense. I had before me the contributions of the C. F. 
& I. Co. for the campaign of 1904, amounting to $80,605.00, 
paid out personally by President Hearne. All the vouch- 
ers and checks I have examined personally, all of which 
were payable to Albert A. Miller, upon which he drew the 
currency and, it is said, handed the money over to Mr. 
Hearne, who paid it out. So far as I can discover, not 
one particle of good was accomplished for the company; 
but Mr. Hearne was an aspirant for the position of United 
States senator and devoted a vast amount of time and 
money with this end in view, I have no doubt. 

The company became notorious in many sections for 
their support of the liquor interests. They established 
saloons everywhere they possibly could. This depart- 
ment was managed by one John Kebler, a brother of the 
one-time president of the company, who died about the 
time I came here, a victim of his own intemperate habits. 
A sheriff, elected by the votes of the C. F. & I. Co. em- 
ployees, and who has been kept in office a great many 
years, established himself or became a partner in six- 
teen liquor stores in our coal mines. To clean up the 
saloons and with them the gambling hells and houses of 
prostitution, has been one of the things that Mr. AVelborn 


and I nave devoted an enormous amount of time to dur- 
ing the past five years. The decent newspapers ever- 
lastingly lampooned the C. F. & I. Co. at every election ; 
and I am forced to say the company merited, from a 
moral standpoint, every shot that was fired into their 

Since I came here not a nickel has been paid to any 
politician or political party. We have fought the saloons 
with all the power we possess. We have forbidden any 
politician from going into our camps, and every subordi- 
nate official connected with the company has been for- 
bidden to influence our men to vote for any particular 
candidate. We have not lobbied in the Legislature, but 
have gone directly to the Governor and other able men 
and have demanded fair treatment. 

Mr. Bowers' assurance that the company had relinquished 
its political control some time prior to May 13 is disproved by 
a great deal of conclusive testimony, including letters and 
tsetimony by Mr. Bowers himself. His account of the active 
part taken by the operators in the campaign of 1914 for "law 
and order, ' ' has already been quoted. At the hearing in May, 
1915, Commissioner O'Connell read to him the following ex- 
tract from the testimony of former United States Senator 
T. M. Patterson, given at Denver in December, 1914: 

The men employed by the large mining companies hav© 
been used to gain political power. There is no doubt that 
it is the deliberate purpose of these companies to con- 
trol the officials of the counties in which they are operat- 
ing, and to have a great influence in the selection of 
judges and in the constitution of the courts. In this pur- 
pose they have been successful. Election returns from 
the two or three counties in which the large companies 
operate show that in the precincts in which the mining 
camps are located the returns are nearly unanimous in 
favor of the men or measures approved by the companies, 
regardless of party. The companies know whom they 


want elected, and do not hesitate, judging from the re- 
sults, to let their men know. 

Then followed this dialogue: 

Commissioner O'Connell: This is the opinion of one 
of your reputable citizens who was interested in bring- 
ing about a settlement, and he says that the courts, the 
ballot boxes, and the political situation were dominated 
entirely and in the hands of the coal companies of Colo- 
rado. That is Senator Patterson. 

Mr. Bowers: I do not think that any man in the state 
of Colorado knows better than Senator Patterson that 
it has been under the domination of the Democratic party 
for years and years and years, and if these scoundrels are 
in there, and he has been the leader of the Democratic 
party for years, and they put the scoundrels in there, on 
whom does it rest? Not on Mr. Rockefeller or on me. 

Commissioner O'Connell: You concede that situation 
is true then? 

Mr. Bowers: I have to admit that in certain counties 
that condition does exist ; I do not dispute it. 

Commissioner O'Connell: In the counties where these 
coal companies operate, they have the judges and sher- 
iffs, and through the sheriffs can select the jurors, as was 
testified to in the evidence before us of Sheriff Farr him- 
self, and by others before us as to how the juries were 
selected; how the election commissioners were appointed 
and sometimes where they did not show up at a certain 
jprecinct, Sheriff Farr said: "You and you act as elec- 
tion commissioner today.' ' I ask you, Mr. Bowers, as a 
man of great affairs and dealing with big business and 
big financial affairs, if you think a poor humble miner* 
without any great amount of money, without any prop- 
erty behind him, or any influence, has any chance of get- 
ting justice in a situation of that kind? 

Mr. Bowers: Why, no; no one need to ask that. I 


know those poor fellows in there ought to have the sup- 
port of every decent man there is to the end that their 
rights are protected, and they will get that treatment 
from me. 

Further light on the company's control of politics after 
1907 is shed by the testimony of Attorney General Farrar of 
Colorado, given in Denver in December, 1914. It is particu- 
larly significant because of the close co-operation and political 
friendship between him and the company since the strike 
began. He is testifying as to an investigation of conditions 
in Huerfano County made by him in the autumn of 1913 : 

Chairman Walsh: What did you ascertain, briefly, as 
to the condition there so far as the political control was 
concerned — alleged political control by the company? 

General Farrar: I found a very perfect political ma- 
chine, just as much a machine as Tammany in New York ; 
just as much of a machine as you will find in any of the 
places where a great many voters are susceptible to an 
organization of that character. I found that the head 
of this political machine is the sheriff, that it was car- 
ried along lines very similar to those maintained in Tam- 
many ; that is, it had a system of relief in cases of need, 
had a system of giving rewards to these people, and I 
think, briefly speaking, the term machine covers the situa- 
tion. Just such a machine as you people may have in 
your own states or your own cities. 

Chairman Walsh: Did you ascertain from what 
sources money came to assist in organizing and maintain- 
ing it? 

General Farrar: I was not able to place that definitely. 
I believe that the machine probably — well, I cannot say 
that it existed with the help of the coal company; I be- 
lieve rather it existed through its power as a machine 
over the coal company. That is, I cannot be sure which 
was cause and which was effect, but there was undoubt- 
edly some relationship between the two, but whether or 


not any money was ever used, I have absolutely no 
knowledge at all. 

Chairman Walsh: Is there a law in this state which 
prevents or prohibits the use of money by corporations 
in elections? 

General Farrar: Not that I recall right now, Mr. 

Chairman Walsh: Did you ascertain whether or not 
the result of the work of this machine was to control the 
actions of coroners' juries in cases where death resulted 
from accidents in the mines, and also to control the actions 
for damages, for personal injuries, that might be brought 
in the courts of those counties? 

General Farrar: No, my investigation did not lead 
me into that at that time, and particularly with reference 
to coroners ' inquests at that time no suggestion was made 
with reference to that. In fact, Mr. Walsh, I am a Demo- 
crat. That organization was Eepublican, and I went down 
there as a Democrat to try and work the thing out from a 
Democratic standpoint ; and the evidence did not come to 
me from the industrial standpoint at that time. 

Chairman Walsh: This was purely an investigation 
from the standpoint of politics? 

General Farrar: Well, that phase of it was, yes. 

Chairman Walsh: Did it come under your jurisdiction 
to make an investigation as to whether the mining laws 
of the state were being obeyed? 

General Farrar: No. 

There is also the testimony of Jesse C. Northcutt, now an 
attorney for the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company and tin 
other coal operators, and active in the prosecution of Mr. 
Lawson and other members of the union. In a speech at 
Lamar, Colo., delivered October 10, 1912, Mr. Northcutt, speak- 
ing of the political activity of the company, said : 


Up there a few men get together in a room some days 
before the convention. They have already fixed up whom 
the delegates to the convention shall be. They have prob- 
ably given the local superintendent of the mines the num- 
ber of delegates to which that community will be entitled. 
They do not tell him whom to bring. He knows he is to 
select a certain number of delegates who are to come in 
and follow the dictation of a single man whose name is 
given to them before they leave. He goes around and 
picks out Jim Archuleta and some others, and says to 
them, "I want you to go down to a convention tomor- 
row, down to Trinidad to a convention, and you see Mr. 
So-and-So and do as he tells you," knowing that these 
delegates will come in and do as they are told, a meeting 
of four or five leaders is held and they proceed to make 
the slate: "We will take for County Clerk So-and-So; 
he is a good man for the purpose." Some other man 
says, "But still, I think probably some time within the 
last eight or ten months he had some trouble with some 
pit boss," and there is just a suspicion if the company 
likes him. He isn't right with the company and they 
don't want him; he goes off the slate, and so it is from 
bottom to top the candidates are selected, not with a view 
to their fitness, not with a view to their ability to dis- 
charge their duty, not with a view to their integrity, but 
"are they satisfactory to the company?" 

Since he accepted employment with the operators Mr. 
Northcutt, while admitting the authenticity of this speech, 
has testified before the Commission that the conditions he 
describes in the foregoing have ceased to exist. 

And a more subtle, but no less effective control over the 
state government, even prior to the election of 1914, is shown 
in the letters of Mr. Bowers to Mr. Rockefeller, reporting the 
operators' success in forcing the Governor to give them the 
use of the state troops in escorting imported strikebreakers 
to their mines. These letters are quoted in full in a later 
chapter dealing with the militia. 


Equally conclusive in proving that the political domination 
of the company has continued and exists today is the testi- 
mony of the Rev. Eugene S. Gaddis, head of the sociological 
department of the company until February, 1915, and in- 
dorsed by President Welborn in April, 1915, as an "earnest, 
faithful worker and a Christian gentleman. ,, Reverend Mr. 
Gaddis testified before the Commission in Washington in 
May, 1915, that the company's political control in the coal 
camps was plainly evident during the campaign of 1914 ; that 
Sheriff Jeff Farr was still in the saddle as political ally of the 
company; that word was passed by company officials advis- 
ing employees for whom to vote ; that this advice was accom- 
panied by vague threats ; and that he personally saw delegates 
to the convention at Trinidad enter the office of the company 
and confer with its officials. 

Reverend Mr. Gaddis testified on May 19, 1915 : 

There could scarcely be a closer relation right now, 
and has been for years, between the C. F. & I. Co. and 
Mr. Farr and his clique. 

Commissioner O'Connell: Now, that being the situa- 
tion in that part of Colorado, do you wonder that the citi- 
zens, the men and women that have a right to vote, feel 
that they can get no results, no justice from the mere 
matter of casting a ballot, in that county, on any ques- 
tion that they are interested in, either morally, indus- 
trially, financially or otherwise! 

Dr. Gaddis : I think it has been very thoroughly driven 
home to them. 

Commissioner O'Connell: So the matter of voting for 
them, if they vote, is a matter of form! 

Dr. Gaddis: It is a waste of time. 

Commissioner O'Connell: It was a custom that has 
grown up, so that Jeff Farr could see them go to the bal- 
lot box, and if they didn't they would lose their jobs the 
next day? Was that the condition? 

Dr. Gaddis: Very likely. 


While the testimony and letters quoted above throw much 
light on the methods by which political control was obtained 
by the companies, they do not set forth with entire clearness 
two of the principal sources of the companies ' power. These 
are the right to discharge summarily and without stated 
cause ; and the private ownership, by the companies, of every 
foot of land and of every building in many of the largest min- 
ing towns. 

The operators have admitted freely that men would not be 
accepted or retained in their employ who talked unionism or 
who answered the operators' description of "agitators." To 
detect employees who were objectionable to the company, 
spies were employed and a system of espionage maintained. 
The character of men employed in this capacity by the Colo- 
rado Fuel & Iron Company was so objectionable that even 
Mr. Bowers, the highest executive official, told the Commis- 
sion that he complained to the other officials. Mr. Bowers 
referred to them as "cut throats.' ' He testified that his asso- 
ciates regarded him as a "tenderfoot" and were not im- 
pressed by his complaints. 

Not only could miners be discharged summarily for ex- 
pressing union sympathies, but local superintendents were 
able to penalize miners at will by assigning them to places in 
the mines where the work was unusually difficult, dangerous 
or unprofitable. 

Much testimony was given before the Congressional Com- 
mittee by strikers and others regarding the arbitrary, and 
brutal conduct of camp marshals or guards who were em- 
ployed by the companies and who acted under color of author- 
ity. This testimony was corroborated and supplemented by 
Jack McQuarrie, who acted for six years as undersheriif of 
Huerfano County. 

Former United States Senator Patterson has the follow- 
ing to say regarding summary discharge of "agitators," 
when he was on the stand before the Commission in Denver : 

Mr. Osgood spoke about not keeping agitators. Most 
anybody comes under the head of an agitator that has an 


independent expression upon any subject that affects in- 
dustry. Xow there is no question in the world but that 
for years the member of the union that found his way 
into those mines, — take for instance the mine of Mr. Os- 
good. — if it was discovered that he was a member of the 
union, and lisped upon the subject of the union, they 
found a way to get rid of him. 

Free speech in informal and personal intercourse thus was 
denied the inhabitants of the coal camps. There is conclu- 
sive testimony that it also was denied to public speakers. 
Obviously, union organizers would not be permitted to enter 
the camps and address meetings. The Eeverend Mr. Gaddis, 
head of the sociological department of the Colorado Fuel & 
Iron Company before and during the strike, testified that 
periodicals permitted in the camps were censored in the same 

Thus, with "cut-throats" employed as spies to ferret out 
employes expressing objectionable opinions, the operators 
were able to use their power of summary discharge to deny 
free speech, free press and free assemblage, to prevent po- 
litical activity contrary to their interests, and affirmatively to 
control the political activities of employees for the suppres- 
sion of popular government and the winning of political con- 

But in the Colorado camps the loss of his job was not the 
only penalty that might be arbitrarily inflicted on the miner 
who refused to do the company's bidding. Many of the min- 
ing towns were situated on land owned by the employing com- 
pany. Xo bit of ground and no house could be occupied ex- 
cept by consent of the company, which discouraged home- 
building and refused to sell lots for the purpose, even to their 
oldest employees. The fact that some of the closed camps 
have flourished for thirty years disposes of the operators* 
claim that home ownership by the miners would be imprac- 
ticable and unprofitable. In these towns, of which the names 
of twelve were given by Mr. TTelborn as the property of the 
Colorado Fuel k Iron Company alone, the company owns not 


only the miners' dwellings, but the church, school, store, and 
saloon buildings. Miners and their families bought every 
article of food, clothing, and household supplies at stores 
owned by the company, and from which large profits were 
drawn. The Company either sold a concession to sell liquor 
to its employees at a yearly rate of so much for each man 
employed in the camp, as in the case of the Victor- American 
Fuel Company, or rented the saloon building at a yearly 
rental amounting in one instance to one-half of the original 
cost of the building, as in the case of the Colorado Fuel & 
Iron Company. Thus the company became in effect a benefi- 
ciary of the liquor traffic. 1 

A church building could not be erected in a closed camp 
without the consent of the company, and the company as- 
sumed the right to compel the dismissal of ministers of the 
gospel who opposed company policies or interests. Thus Mr. 
Welborn, writing to Mr. Rockefeller's attorney and personal 
aid in New York, Mr. Starr J. Murphy, under date of Octo- 
ber 31, 1914, says of the minister in one of the Company's 
closed towns: 

At the time of the Ludlow affair the minister was very 
outspoken in his criticism of the coal companies, but 
seemed to regret his action when informed of the facts 
concerning that disturbance. He has socialistic tenden- 
cies, however, and I have been informed that his wife is 
a Greek, yet they may both be perfectly honest. * * * 
We have thought some of changing the minister at Sun- 
rise, but have refrained from taking a course that would 
be unfair to him, or would indicate a prejudice against 
him because of what may have been simply indiscreet 
statements in connection with the Ludlow outbreak. 

The "Ludlow outbreak' ' here referred to is the occurrence 

1 — Saloons operated in this fashion were reopened after the Federal troops 
were withdrawn in December, 1914, by consent of the Colorado Fuel & 
Iron Company although the Company professed that its interest in the 
political campaign of the preceding fall was born of its ardent wish 
for prohibition. (See Gaddis testimony.) 


of April 20, 1914, in which five strikers, one boy, and thirteen 
women and children in the strikers ' tent colony were shot to 
death by militiamen and guards employed by the coal compa- 
nies or suffocated and burned to death when these militiamen 
and guards set fire to the tents in which they made their 
homes. One militiaman was killed in the same " affair.' ' 

The minister who thus escaped dismissal is the Reverend 
Daniel McCorkle, who presided over the church at Sunrise, 
Wyoming, where the Company operated iron mines. Sunrise 
is more than 300 miles from the strike zone, and it is extreme- 
ly unlikely that any person in the strike zone had ever heard 
of his sermon denouncing the Ludlow massacre until the let- 
ter quoted above was made public by the Commission. From 
a knowledge of conditions in the southern Colorado camps, 
it may be concluded that had the Eeverend Mr. McCorkle 
preached such a seromn within the strike zone he would have 
been summarily dismissed. 

Control of the schools within the closed camps was no less 
absolute. Mine superintendents and other company officials 
dictated the selection of teachers and procured the dismissal 
of teachers to whom they objected. Reverend Mr. Gaddis, 
whose experience as head of the sociological department of 
the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company gave him excellent oppor- 
tunity to judge, testified before the Commission that this Com- 
pany control, exercised by local officials, had been used to get 
rid of competent teachers who refused to be subservient, and 

to appoint teachers who were incompetent. 

-Si 3 
Thus employees were forced not only to depend on the fa- 
vor of the Company for the opportunity to earn a living, but 
to live in such houses as the Company furnished, to buy such 
food, clothing and supplies as the Company sold them, to ac- 
cept for their children such instruction as the companies 
wished to provide, and to conform even in their religious 
worship to the Company's wishes. 

Under these conditions, the miner who was discharged by 
the pit boss or superintendent lost his house and his right to 


remain in the community at the same time that he lost his 

The extent of control in these camps is shown in the fol- 
lowing extract from the testimony of the Reverend Mr. Gad- 

Commissioner O'Connell: What are the facilities for 
these closed camps having churches and schools and 
places of amusement? 

Dr. Gaddis: They have just what the Company fur- 
nishes them. No one can go in there without the consent 
of the Company for any purpose; it is different in a 
closed camp, religious or otherwise. 

Chairman Walsh: Can ministers go in and preach? 

Dr. Gaddis: He has to secure the consent of at least 
the superintendent. 

Even the polling places in the closed camps were located 
on ground owned by the Company. If the votes of their em- 
ployees were not sufficiently numerous to offset those of out- 
siders in the same precinct, entrance to the closed camps and 
the polling places could be denied to voters not under the 
Company's control, or the territory could be reprecincted in 
such fashion as to exclude these voters. 

While company ownership of homes, stores, churches, 
schools and saloons greatly aided the mine owners in building 
up and maintaining their arbitrary political and economic 
power, it should not be lost sight of that substantially the 
same result could have been attained by means of their mon- 
opoly of employment and their power to discharge arbitrarily 
without stated cause. 

Having described the methods by which political control 
was obtained, this report will now outline those uses of this 
power that have a direct bearing on industrial conditions. 
These were the disregard of state mining laws; the preven- 
tion of legislation unfavorable to the companies ; the obtain- 
ing of favorable legislation; the control of coroners and 
courts ; and the control of sheriffs, constables and militia. 


Most important of all benefits enjoyed by the companies as 
a result of their political control was the aid of subservient 
public officials in denying agitators or union officials access to 
the camps, during peace, and in intimidating, arresting, im- 
prisoning and killing strikers and their leaders during strikes. 
This use of political control by the companies is more impor- 
tant than their use of it to ignore mining laws or to prevent 
the collection of damages for personal injuries, for the 
reason that it has effectually prevented the unionization of 
the mines. This unionization would have given the miners 
an economic weapon with which they themselves could have 
forced compliance with the law and by which they could have 
speedily broken the hold of the companies on government, by 
limiting the power of discharge, and thus establishing free 
speech, a free press and free assembly, and encouraging 
healthy discussion and agitation. 

This report will later outline the extent to which political 
influence was used after the strike began to defeat the miners J 
organization. But we are dealing now with causes of the 
strike, and it will be sufficient here to show how efforts to 
effect an organization of miners before the strike began were 
hampered or defeated by the companies through their use of 
public officials. 

Evidence on this point could be presented here in great 
volume. The history of the earlier strike of 1903-04 is full 
of instances of the use of the civil power of the counties and 
the military power of the State to imprison and deport strike 
leaders and thus to defeat the ends of the strikers.* 

Testimony from union officials, strikers and apparently un- 
biased witnesses before the Congressional Committee and the 
Commission on Industrial Relations all points to the exist- 
ence of a system of policing by company agents which closed 
the mining towns to union organizers, active members of the 
union, and, in fact, to any person whom the local authorities 
regarded as undesirable. A federal grand jury which met at 
Pueblo early in the strike and which heard testimony from a 

*See report of Carroll D. Wright, U. S. Commissioner of Labor. 


large number of witnesses had the following to say in its re- 

Many camp marshals, whose appointment and salaries 
are controlled by local companies, have exercised a sys- 
tem of espionage and have resorted to arbitrary powers 
of police control, acting in the capacity of judge and jury 
and passing the sentence: "Down the canyon for you," 
meaning thereby that the miner so addressed was dis- 
charged and ordered to leave the camp, upon miners who 
had incurred the enmity of the superintendent or pit boss 
for having complained of a real grievance or for other 
cause. These, taken with brutal assaults by camp mar- 
shals upon miners, have produced general dissatisfaction 
among the latter. Miners generally fear to complain of 
real grievances because of the danger of their discharge 
or of their being placed in unfavorable position in the 

Union organizers were not only barred from the mining 
camps; they were harassed and arrested without cause even 
in county seats, where the companies owned at most only small 
amounts of property. Mr. John McQuarrie, undersherifT of 
Huerfano County from 1903 until 1909, and special agent for 
the Colorado and Southern Eailroad in the coal mining dis- 
trict until October, 28, 1913, gave the Congressional Commit- 
tee a specific instance of the methods used to keep union or- 
ganizers out of the field. Mr. McQuarrie was discharged by 
the Colorado &> Southern Eailroad more than a month after 
the strike began on complaint of President Welborn of the 
Colorado Fuel & Iron Company that he was too friendly with 
the strike leaders. When he gave the following testimony he 
was employed by attorneys for the United Mine Workers. 

By Mr. Costigan: Q. Did he (Sheriff Jeff Parr) 
ever speak of his relations with those coal companies? 

A. He makes a brag — he don't deny the fact that he 
is a Colorado Fuel and Iron Co. man — that anything they 
want he will do. 



Q. He has made that statement, has he, in your pres- 

A. He has made that statement hundreds of times in 
my presence and always impressed on me the necessity 
of standing in and being a Colorado Fuel & Iron man. 

* * * There was a great many things that he put up 
to me that I wouldn't do. I never done anything there 
that I was ashamed of. I regret very much, that I stayed 
with him the length of time I did, being the class of man 
that he is. Everything that I done there was straight. 
I never went out and beat people over the head as some 
of his men have ; as, for instance, there is a case of thi* 
man Lawson. Jeff Farr came to me and asked me, says— 

By Mr. Costigan: Q. You refer to John R. Lawson 

A. John R. Lawson. In 1906 Farr came to me and 
wanted me to "get" Lawson in some way. I told him 
no, I didn 't want to do any of that kind of work. Says I, 
"If you have a warrant for Lawson, give it to me and 
I will get him, but I don't want to do no crooked work, 
Jeff. ' ' The next day I went out to serve the summonses — 
it was just before the fall term of the district court 

* * * and when I returned the next night Lawson 
was in the county jail. Well, I went over to the office and 
met Jeff and Severio Martinez — Severio Martinez was 
the night marshal of Walsenburg. I asked what Lawson 
was downstairs there for — had seen the mittimus on the 
desk — the mittimus was on the desk for me to enter up in 
the sheriff's office. They began to laugh and told me how 
Lawson came in there. 

Q. Who told you? 

A. Jeff and Severio Martinez. They said that they 
had "framed up" on him. They had caught him on the 
upper end of Main Street as he was going out of town 
that night and stuck a gun in his pocket and arrested him 
for carrying concealed weapons. The gun was an old 
gun that had laid around the sheriff's office for a long 


while. He had already been sentenced to 30 days in the 

county jail and $50 fine. 

* # # # * 

Q. Do you know what the real reason for his arrest 
was — was that stated in a conversation with Sheriff Farr? 

A. Well, he was an organizer. 

Q. For what? 

A. The United Mine Workers of America, and he had 
been trailed around and watched. You see, Reno always 
sends out a description — 

Congressman Austin: Just state who Reno is so the 
record will show. 

A. W. H. Reno, the chief detective or special agent for 
the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co., used to furnish a de- 
scription of all organizers that came into the district or 
was suspected of being an organizer, and in that way 
Sheriff Farr would always have his men look out for 
them and run them out of the county and make things 
disagreeable for them the moment they would spot them. 

Q. Was that the fact in regard to Mr. Lawson? 

A. That was the fact in regard to Mr. Lawson. 

Q. He was followed for a long time ? 

A. He and any other organizer that ever came into 
the district. Gamier was followed — he was there about 
the time that Lawson was — he was followed also. 

This report will later show how the companies ' political in- 
fluence was effectively used to defeat the strike when finally 
it came in spite of the difficulties and dangers faced by em- 
ployees who tried to organize. 

Having established their control of public officials and suc- 
cessfully prevented the organization of their employes, the 
companies found little difficulty in disregarding the laws that 
had been enacted by the state legislature to protect the inter- 
ests of the miners. As in other instances that have come to 
the attention of the Commission, laws proved almost if not 


quite worthless when not supported by a strong and aggres- 
sive organization of the men in whose interests they were 

Four of the seven formal demands of the strikers were 
for the enforcement of state laws, which they alleged had 
been persistently violated by the operators. These demands 
were: (1) An eight-hour working day for all classes of labor 
in and around the coal land and at coke ovens. (2) A check- 
weighman at all times to be elected by the miners without any 
interference by company officials. (3) The right to trade at 
any store they please and the right to choose their own board- 
ing places and their own doctor. (4) a, Enforcement of the 
Colorado mining laws ; b, abolition of the notorious and crim 
inal guard system which has prevailed in the mining camps ol 
Colorado for many years. 1 

Miners employed in the coal and metalliferous mines of 
Colorado began their fight for an eight-hour day for under- 
ground workers in 1895. The Supreme Court in that year 
advised the Legislature that an eight-hour law would be un- 
constitutional. The State platforms of all parties in 1900 de- 
clared for a constitutional amendment, and such an amend- 
ment was submitted by the Legislature in 1901 and was adopt- 
ed by popular vote in November, 1902. The vote was 72,980 
to 26,266, and the majority in favor of the amendment was 
greater than that given to any other of the seven measures 
submitted at the same election. This constitutional amend- 
ment read : 

Section 250. The General Assembly shall provide by 
law and shall provide suitable penalties for the violation 
thereof, for a period of employment not to exceed eight 
hours within any twenty-four hours * * * for persons 
employed in underground mines. 

-The other formal demands were for recognition of the Union; a 10 per 
cent advance in wages on the tonnage rate and a day scale practically 
in acord with the Wyoming day wage rate; and payment of all narrow 
and dead work, including brushing, timbering, removing flaws and hand- 
ling impurities. 


The will of the people as expressed in this mandate to the 
Legislature was defeated during the session of 1903 by the 
activity of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company and other large 
smelting and mining corporations. Eight different bills were 
introduced and none passed. So great was the scandal cre- 
ated by this failure to comply with the constitutional mandate 
that at an extra session of the Legislature during the following 
summer, called for other purposes, each house adopted a reso- 
lution blaming the other house for the failure. 

In 1905 a bill was passed providing for the eight-hour day 
to apply only to coal miners. 

In 1911 an eight-hour bill applying to all classes of under- 
ground labor was passed by the Legislature, but the companies 
obtained sufficient signatures to a referendum petition to pro- 
cure its submission to the people. At the same time they 
initiated another eight-hour bill applying only to workers 
whose employment was continuously in contact with noxious 
fumes, gases and vapors. The voters of Colorado adopted 
both measures in the fall of 1912, but the conflict between them 
led to discussion and doubt, and they were repealed in favor of 
a new bill that was enacted by the 1913 Legislature and which 
went into effect April 3, 1913. 

For eleven years after the people of the State had ordered 
the enactment of an eight-hour law, the companies success- 
fully defied the popular will and succeeded in blocking the en- 
forcement of effective legislation. When at last they granted 
the eight-hour day, in March, 1913, we have the word of Mr. 
Bowers that it was noj; respect for this popular will, but the 
desire to defeat unionization, that actuated them. No more 
convincing evidence could be obtained of the necessity for 
economic organization by the workers to vitalize and make 
effective their political power. 

Of all the specific grievances of the miners growing out of 
economic and political domination by the employers, one of the 
most serious was the denial of checkweighmen at the mine 
scales and the consequent lack of adequate assurance that 
the miners were being paid for all the coal they mined. There 


was not only a lack of such assurance ; there was actual and 
deliberate cheating of miners by many of the coal operators, if 
we may take the word of Mr. Bowers, chief executive of the 
Colorado Fuel & Iron Company. This uncertainty and suspi- 
cion as to whether or not they were being paid in full for the 
coal mined contributed as much to the sense of injustice and 
acute dissatisfaction under which the miners labored as any 
other specific abuse. The testimony of striking miners before 
the Congressional Committee shows that they firmly believed 
themselves to have been the victims of petty cheating and 
larceny practiced by the companies, and that they felt helpless 
to protest. Yet by a state law enacted in 1897 the miners were 
given a right to employ checkweighmen whenever they desired 
to do so. 

Mr. Bowers vigorously denied that his company cheated its 
men in the weighing of coal. We may admit the honest inten- 
tion of the higher officials of this company without accepting it 
as proof that its miners were not actually cheated. If the low 
opinion of the company's superintendents and minor officials 
expressed by the company ? s superintendent of sociological 
work is justified, it would still be an open question whether or 
not these lesser officials practiced short weighing in order to 
make a favorable showing of production costs, or to penalize 
certain miners to the benefit of others. 

But regardless of whether or not the miners at a particular 
mine or group of mines were actually cheated, there still ex- 
isted a substantial grievance if they were denied the means 
of assuring themselves that such was jiot the case and were 
forced to depend absolutely on the honesty of the employer. 
This is admitted by operators who have testified before the 
Commission. (See Weitzel.) 

The widespread practice of cheating miners is admitted as 
to other operators in the testimony given by Mr. Bowers at 
Washington on May 24, 1915. 

Chairman Walsh: Then there were just two bad fel- 
lows that went in there cheating the miners ? * * * 


Mr. Bowers: I think there were quite a good many 
more of them. 

Chairman Walsh: How do you think these miners could 
get justice, if a lot of mine owners were cheating them in 
the weights of the coal that they dug out of the ground, 
unless they had an organization powerful in number, and 
somewhat powerful financially? 

Mr. Bowers: I had power enough to stop it. * * * 
My attention was called to it particularly by the fact that 
some of our friends * * * in the railway were getting 
cut prices on their coal, and it seemed that any straight 
fellow, as long as there was not more than 5 cents a ton 
profit on railroad coal, it seemed to be particularly diffi- 
cult for a company to make 10 cents. 

Chairman Walsh: Something crooked? 

Mr. Bowers: I think so. I said to Mr. Welborn, "How 
can we stop them stealing the coal from the miners." 

Chairman Walsh : And also cutting under your prices ? 

Mr. Boivers: Yes, sir, also cutting under our prices, 
and we only made 5 cents a ton. 

Chairman Walsh: You became convinced there was 
something wrong? 

Mr. Bowers: Yes, sir, and how we could end it. 

Chairman Walsh: That is, for the miners? 

Mr. Bowers: Ourselves and the miners and all con- 
cerned. The man that works for me is as much my 
brother as the man that I work for. You have no doubt 
about that, have you? 

Chairman Walsh: I would not like to say. Go ahead. 

Mr. Bowers: Now, then, we talked it over, and I said, 
"How about these checkweighmen ? ' ' 

Chairman Walsh: Who did you say that to? 

Mr. Bowers: Mr. Welborn, and I guess to the executive 


board. * * * Now, I know very well, by my own talks 
and interviews with our men, and with the checkweigh- 
men, that the checkweighmen had been optional with the 
miners. I had talked with many miners in regard to it. 
We discussed it, and I think I suggested in a letter 
* * * that our own miners know that the Colorado Fuel 
& Iron Company are willing and desire that the miners 
have their own checkweighmen. The newer men were 
coming in; the old men knew; and that the newer men 
might not be advised of that, so that we stated here that it 
is the desire of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company that 
our miners secure and have their own checkweighmen. 

Chairman Walsh: Was that at the time you discovered 
this cheating? 

Mr. Bowers: Yes, sir, just at that time. * * * We 
agreed on that circular, and it was written in six lan- 
guages, and posted at the mines and at their working 
places, and * * * I understood from several sources' 
that the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, and your humble 
servant, had been damned with great severity. Of course, 
immediately they saw that the Colorado Fuel & Iron Com- 
pany — it spread all over the camp, what could those fel- 
lows do with that kind of a circular in there ? * * * 

Chairman Walsh: Did the workmen for the other com- 
panies demand checkweighmen 1 

Mr. Boivers: L think they did. * * * 

Chairman Walsh: "Did you see what effect this had? 

Mr. Boivers: The effect was that your humble servant 
got damned. 

Chairman Walsh: Among the coal operators? 

Mr. Boivers: Yes, sir, I understand, but I did not hear 

The circular was posted in April, 1912, but apparently it had 
little effect. Mr. Welborn testified before the Commission in 
Denver that checkweighmen had not been employed, except in- 


termittently, while Mr. Osgood, chairman of the board of the 
Victor-American Company, testified that a checkweighman 
had been continuously employed at only one mine. Both offi- 
cials declared that their companies did not object to the em- 
ployment of checkweighmen, and, indeed, rather favored it. 

Mr. Bowers' testimony quoted above leaves serious doubt 
that the miners, employed either by his company or the others, 
understood that they were free to elect checkweighmen and 
to demand that the companies accept them. On the other 
hand, the inference of this testimony is strong in support of 
the assertions of striking miners that they believed they would 
risk discharge if they asked for checkweighmen. For, accord- 
ing to Mr. Bowers, the posting of this circular created some- 
thing of a sensation and led to agitation in other camps. If 
the company's acquiescence in the employment of checkweigh- 
men were a matter of common knowledge, it seems strange 
that the posting of the notice should have angered other op- 
erators and caused them to condemn Mr. Bowers. 

Granting that the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company had 
obeyed the law of 1897 prior to the posting the circular fif- 
teen years later, it is obvious from Mr. Bowers' testimony 
that the operators who "damned" him had failed to do so. 

But there is this statement from the testimony of the Rev- 
erend Mr. Gaddis : 

When a man asked for a checkweighman, in the lan- 
guage of the super, he was getting too smart. 

Commissioner O'Connell: And he got what? 

Dr. Gaddis: He got it in the neck, generally. 

Dr. Gaddis is here referring to the Colorado Fuel & Iron 
Company, and to a time subsequent to the posting of the 

Here again the legal rights of the miners proved worthless 
in the absence of a strong union. In denying them the union, 
the companies denied them the machinery with which to select 
a checkweighman in whose independence they could place their 


confidence. Fifty or one hundred or five hundred disorganized 
men, with half a dozen nationalities represented among them, 
could hardly be expected to meet together and act in harmony 
on the selection of a man to check the weights of their coal, 
when in all other respects they were forced to act individually, 
and were denied the training in collective action which only 
the union can give. 

No more substantial cause for resentment could be imagined 
than this denial to the miners of any means to insure honest 
payment of wages. And in denying the right to organize, the 
companies must be convicted of doing just this. It is impos- 
sible to conceive of the citrus fruit growers in California send- 
ing their oranges and lemons to the eastern market unweighed 
or unnumbered, and accepting the figures of the jobbers in the 
East as a basis for payment. Yet the situation would be anal- 
ogous to that endured by the Colorado miners. 

Regarding the strikers ' demand for the right to trade where 
they pleased, the testimony shows that mine employees, particu- 
larly in closed camps, risked the displeasure of the local offi- 
cials, and the possibility of discharge, if they did not trade at 
the company stores. These stores were operated through sub- 
sidiary companies, all of the stock of which was owned by the 
mining companies. They earned very large profits, Presi- 
dent Welborn of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company testified 
that the stores of that company earned more than 20 per cent 
on a capital of $700,000. In about half the camps of this com- 
pany the stores had no competition. Mr. Osgood of the Vic- 
tor-American Company testified that the stores of his com- 
pany earned 20 per cent. 

The legislature passed a law in 1899 prohibiting "any ar- 
rangement by which any person may issue a truck order or 
scrip by means of which the maker may charge the amount 
to the employer to be deducted from the wages of the em- 
ploye.' ' President AVelborn testified that the Colorado Fuel 
& Iron Company never paid wages in scrip, but that scrip was 
in use in company stores until 1913. If a man wanted to draw 
on his wages earned but not paid, said Mr. Welborn, he could 


get an order on the store company, and if he did not expend 
the full amount of the order he could get his change in scrip, 
which would be good at the store later. 

Superintendent Snodgrass of the Delagua mine of the 
Victor-American Fuel Company admitted the use of scrip, 
and testified before the Congressional Committee that the 
Company regards the man holding scrip as under a contract 
to spend it in the company store. 

Whether the practice of the companies in this respect was 
a violation or merely an evasion of the State law is a question 
that has not been definitely answered in the testimony. 

The same law that prohibited use of scrip made unlawful 
"any requirement or understanding, whatsoever, by the em- 
ployer with the employee that does not permit the employee 
to purchase the necessaries of life where and of whom he 
likes, without interference, coercion, let or hindrance." 

The Reverend Eugene S. Gaddis, superintendent of the 
sociological department of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Com- 
pany until February, 1915, testified before the Commission in 
Washington on May 19, 1915 : 

One physician who had served the Company for 17 or 
18 years declared if a strike is called, the Colorado Supply 
Co. (the store subsidiary of the C. F. & I. Co.) will be 
responsible. A man filling one of the highest positions 
in a local camp received a letter of inquiry, as to why he 
did not trade at the Company store. His reply contained 
his resignation (not accepted), but that he would trade 
where he thought best. A local doctor estimated he could 
only afford to buy 50 per cent of his groceries in camp. 
Lessees of company hotel buildings did not feel free to buy 
staple groceries, except at "the store." 

The manager of the fuel department instructed the 
superintendent, and he so informed me about three 
months ago, to use his influence to have employees trade 
at the store. A few months ago a young manager asked 
the wife of a laborer if her husband wished to continue 


working in that place, and if so, their grocery business 
had better come his way. A mail order catalogue from 
one of the Chicago houses was deposited in an arroyo in- 
stead of the hands of the addressee, who was a man well 
known in the community. 

Store managers are the postmasters in most places. 
For years it has been the custom of the Eockefeller stores 
to give a company draft, when a postal order was so- 
licited, and charge the U. S. Postal rates. The amount of 
money the Government has lost by this trickery would 
take expert accountants many days to foot up. 

Since the close of the great strike many "gabfests" 
have been held, in which the managers have been told a 
f< square deal" must be given in the future. Prices in 
some stores have dropped 10 per cent, and 10 per cent 
more would still leave a handsome profit for Eockefeller 
in the mining camp groceries. 

In at least half of the mining camps the company stores 
had no competition, except itinerant hucksters, and in the 
buying of his food and supplies, the miner was at the mercy of 
the company. In towns fifteen, twenty and thirty years old, 
this absence of competition can only be ascribed to the refusal 
of the companies to sell land for homes or other purposes, and 
this refusal in turn appears to have been actuated by a desire 
to monopolize the merchandising as well as every other activ- 
ity of the community. 

Store managers were closely associated with mine superin- 
tendents in the control of the political and social life of the 
camps, and it seems reasonable to infer that ambitious local 
managers enlisted the superintendents' influence to swell their 
business and improve their showing. 

Eeverend Mr. Gaddis estimated the percentage of the aver- 
age miner's wages spent at the company store as 30 or 35 per 
cent. During the strike, he said, an employee working at the 
company's books in one of the stores told him the strike 
breakers were paying 47 per cent of their earnings to the 


The temper of at least two store managers for the same 
company is shown by this additional testimony by Mr. Gaddis : 

A store manager-school director wished to remove a 
lady teacher because she did not trade with him. * * * 
A store manager's daughter, at Morley, below legal age, 
and without any teacher's certificate, was made a teacher 
against the protest of the county superintendent and the 
people of the camp. 

In the same letter previously quoted, that of September 19, 
1913, to Mr. Murphy, Mr. Bowers writes: 

Another question was the accusation that miners were 
forced to trade at the Company stores. In order to settle 
this we had our storekeepers and all interested say to our 
employees that they were welcome to trade at our stores 
or go anywhere they wished, as the money was their own ; 
that we would be glad if they would trade with us, though 
they were perfectly free to trade where they pleased and 
no man's standing would be changed if he saw fit not to 
trade with us. 

Granting that these instructions were carried out by the 
interested storekeepers both in letter and spirit, merely the 
giving of such notice speaks eloquently of the power of the 
company over its employees. But, according to Dr. Gaddis, 
they were ignored. 

While the camp saloons were not specifically complained of 
in the strikers' formal demands, they formed part of the 
feudal system, and the following extract from Reverend Mr. 
Gaddis' testimony is here relevant : 

Only a few years ago the saloon was run in connection 
with the Company store. Bowers divorced such an un- 
holy alliance. Now some of the most prominent and best 
structures in the camps are used as saloons. In 1908 
there were eighty-two saloons in twenty-five camps of the 
Rockefeller mines. Twelve of these saloons operated un- 
der lease from the Company. In 1913 within a circle 


of four miles diameter, including four camp villages, 
there were twenty-eight saloons. One of these was on 
Company property and was bringing $1,500 rent to the 
credit side of coal production for that camp. 

The policy of the Company has been to farm out their 
privilege for these joints to human ghouls, who operate 
them, by the Camp Marshal's consent, without regard to 
the restrictive statutes of the state, that would interfere 
with their business. 

At Delagua, not a C. F. & I. camp, an officer of the Na- 
tional Guard noticing a saloon open on Sabbath, said to 
the proprietor, "Do you know of a state law, which pro- 
hibits keeping saloons open on Sunday V — same policy 
was pursued on C. F. & I. property — "Oh, that's all 
right," replied the liquor vendor, "I am justice of the 
peace in this town and we don 't pay much attention to such 
things as State laws. ' ' Sabbath breaking is condoned by 
local officials; selling to minors and drunkards is an of- 
fense that is allowed to pass without protest. A saloon and 
lodging house known as the Metropolitan Hotel in Trini- 
dad, was used as an employment bureau. The manager 
was an employee of the Company, and the stock of liquors 
was regularly invoiced by their traveling auditor. A les- 
see of a camp saloon at Morley on Company property 
was being credited $200 a month for advancing cash to 
erect the building. The "chamber of horrors" which a 
camp saloon presents after pay day is so pathetic and 
shameful that it must be seen in order to be fully com- 

One of the largest saloons on company grounds is run 
by an Italian, and the sheriff of Huerfano County is his 
silent partner. In the face of a vote of over 12,000 ma- 
jority placing the state ban on the liquor business, several 
camp saloons were allowed to reopen (after the strike) 
for one more year of devastation. Mr. Bowers told me 
that he would not allow a camp saloon to open after the 
vote was taken, if Mr. Weitzel would concur. Mr. Weitzel 


would not concur. The argument that the Company must 
conduct a high grade saloon, in order to prevent dives 
from starting up just outside our property line, has no 
weight with those familiar with the conduct of the so- 
called Company protected saloons. One ' ' super ' ' justified 
gambling on the same basis. 

The saloon in the Rouse camp * * * Mr. Farr 
(Sheriff Jeff Farr of Huerfano County), is a partner in. 
About one mile away there is another saloon at Lester. 
There was no cause for opening that saloon whatever. 
It is one of the most notorious places in Colorado to de- 
grade and debase men, and I think that Jeff Farr's in- 
fluence opened that saloon. 

Coupled with the strikers ' demand for freedom to trade was 
the demand that they be allowed to choose their own board- 
ing place and their own doctor. Considered as parts of the 
feudalistic system, company boarding houses, and company 
doctors contributed their share to a situation that altogether 
was intolerable to freemen. Both are institutions that could 
be maintained on a basis satisfactory to the miners if a strong 
union existed and the employees could effectively voice griev- 
ances as to this as well as to other features of company man- 

In return for $1.00 a month deducted from his wages, with- 
out his consent, the miner received medical treatment from 
the company doctor stationed at the mine, and if badly in- 
jured was sent to a hospital. The Colorado Fuel & Iron Com- 
pany maintained its own hospital at Pueblo, while the Victor- 
American Fuel Co. used the Sisters Hospital at Trinidad. 

Evidence is abundant that the system of company hospitals 
and company doctors offered just cause for grievance. At 
Sunrise, Wyoming, where the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. oper- 
ates an iron mine, the company doctor acted with shocking 
brutality and carelessness in his treatment of miners and their 
families, according to the impressive testimony of the Rev- 
erend Daniel McCorkle, pastor of the Sunrise church. Not 


only that, but the company permitted him to deduct fees arbi- 
trarily fixed by himself from the wages of employees before 
those wages were paid, these fees being for services not cov- 
ered by the regular fee of $1.00 per month. 

Speaking of the company surgeons in charge of the Pueblo 
hospital, the Reverend Mr. Gaddis says: 

The lack of comforts, the squalor and filth of the camps, 
is so far removed from these gentlemen, that they are 
little touched with the feeling of infirmity for those who 
must endure the hardships of camp life. An appeal to 
the surgeon general for relief of some despicable situ- 
ation seldom meets a prompt and adequate response. 

Dr. Gaddis is speaking here, not of an appeal from a miner 
or group of miners, but from himself as head of the com- 
pany's sociological department. 

Dr. Gaddis gives further information regarding sanitary 
conditions in the camps of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Com- 

A camp physician thus describes a certain Italian quar- 
ter at Sopris: "houses up the canyon, so-called, of which 
eight are habitable; and 46 simply awful; they are dis- 
reputably disgraceful. I have had to remove a mother in 
labor from one part of the shack to another to keep dry. ' ' 
The C. F. & I. company now own and rent hovels, shacks 
and dugouts that are unfit for the habitation of human 
beings and are little removed from the pig sty make of 
dwellings. And the people in them live on the very level 
of a pig sty. * * * Frequently the population is so 
congested that whole families are crowded in the one 
room; eight persons in one small room was reported dur- 
ing the year. * * * The doctor at "Walsen describes 
the conditions of the buildings there last summer (1914). 
These buildings can be seen — no, I will just add here — 

These buildings can be seen today at Segundo, Sopris, 
Berwind, Morley, Robinson and Crested Butte. The 
Walsen camp physician reports June 18, 1914, forty- 


seven houses in Eed Camp are not suitable for occupancy. 

# * * The superintendent at Berwind, under date of 
June 4, 1914, reported, or the camp physician reported, 
18 four-room houses unfit for occupancy. At Segundo 
there are 73 one-room shacks, and two 2-room shacks. 
At an altitude of 10,000 feet in Floresta where the ther- 
mometer drops to an extremely low register, there is not 
a plastered house to be found. The man entrusted to 
answer the lengthy questionnaires sent out from Wash- 
ington, in my hearing, was instructed to fill out the blank 
forms, so as not to arouse suspicion, that conditions would 
fall below the standards suggested by the interrogations. 

* * * Dr. Corwin, who was the manager of the social 
department said to me: "I want you to fill out those 
blanks * * * you know more about these things than 
anybody," and Mr. Welborn objected, and he said, "I 
want you to do that, Doctor, and so answer the questions 
that in camps where we have no social work, or most of 
them, they would not investigate. That was practically 
his instruction. 

The unsanitary plight of large portions of company 
property is due very largely to the fact that the hands 
of the camp physician are tied by the superintendent. 
For a man who has made hygienic science a special study, 
to have his recommendations thwarted by a block-headed 
i ' super," makes the general boss of the coal regions su- 
preme in his realm, but it is little less than a crime 
against the camp population. For a " super" to tell a 
doctor who has made a request for the protection of the 
health of the neighborhood, "Now, you are knocking me," 
all but makes one feel they would like to have a virile 
pugilist handy to place some genuine knocks. 

The physician asked the super to have the camp cleaned 
up, and no time should have been lost in ridding the place 
of its malady breeding spots. The "super" replied: "I 
have no men for that work." * * * I have been im- 
pressed with the idea that the awful, omnipotent, Czar- 


like authority of the local powers that be, rendered them 
capable to run this camp without any of my suggestions. 

As a fruit of such folly, the medical report for all camps 
and plants for 1912 and 1913 gave 151 cases of typhoid, 
or nearly three a week for the entire year. For more 
than a year a cesspool, within a few feet of the com- 
pany's store, was allowed to relieve itself by overflow- 
ing at the top and running down across the principal 
thoroughfare of the camp. Both the store manager and 
his wife had been down with typhoid. This stygian situ- 
ation and others almost as offensive were reported to the 
head of the medical work, and was passed over by a re- 
ply to the "kicker" ; "better be careful or you will step on 
someone's toes." 

Chairman Walsh: Is this just an isolated instance, or 
do they allow the hygienic situation to go unattended in 
that way generally? 

Dr. Gaddis: In some of the camps it could not be 
worse, and in some it is very good, indeed. * * * We 
do not believe that more repulsive looking human rat 
holes can be found in America than those of Berwind 

Canyon, before the strike. 

* * # # # 

The physicians are paid a salary generally including 
house rent and coal free. They are to give gratuitous 
services for all cases except those of confinement, venereal 
diseases, and fight bruises. A monthly allowance for 
drugs of 3 cents per capita is also furnished. 

The apportionment for medicine which they must free- 
ly dispense, is entirely inadequate to meet their needs. 
In one camp the doctor's monthly bill for drugs was $25 
or more, and he was receiving about $12.00 for such ex- 
penses from the company. This arrearage must either 
be paid from the doctor's pocket, or from the extra money 
he receives in cases above noted, or from neighborhood 
practice, or extortion, which is sometimes indulged. By 



ment at Pueblo, the doctor's charges, whether reason- 

There is not a camp hotel or boarding house in a C. F. 
& I. camp where the bed rooms are heated; men suffer 
with mountain winters. 

Presumably for an object lesson for the whole 
camp, a bill for service was collected through the mine 
office by the company physician, when the family had 
been so bold as to call in a doctor of their own choice, 
and the father was discharged for being unwilling to 
pay it. This case was reported to the Denver head- 

There is another phase of the company hospital system 
which will be considered later in this report. It relates to 
the payment of adequate compensation for personal injuries 
received by employees in mine accidents. 

The next formal demand of the strikers having to do with 
law enforcement was a general demand for the enforcement 
of state mining laws. Under this head may be considered, 
the law requiring a semi-monthly pay day, the law prohibit- 
ing discrimination against union men; and the law against 
blacklisting; although the last two are not strictly mining 
laws, but apply to other industries as well. 

The semi-monthly pay day was required by a statute en- 
acted in 1901. It is admitted both by Mr. Bowers and Mr. 
Welborn that the law was violated and ignored by their com- 
pany until February 1, 1913. Mr. Bowers writes to Mr. Mur- 
phy later in 1913 that he realized it was a matter that would 
come up in the event of agitation, and here again the com- 
pany finally began to obey the law, twelve years after it took 
effect, in order to forestall successful agitation by union or- 
ganizers, and not because of its respect for law. 

In 1897 the Colorado legislature enacted a law making it 
unlawful for any individual or corporation to prevent em- 
ployees from forming or joining any lawful labor organiza- 


tion, union, society, or political party, or to coerce employees 
by discharging or threatening to discharge them because of 
their connection with such bodies. Operators have denied 
that this law was violated, but its frequent and deliberate 
violation has been established overwhelmingly by the testi- 
mony. Rev. Mr. McDonald, a Methodist minister, testified 
before the Congressional Committee that he saw two deputy 
sheriffs " herding" three miners out of a Victor- American 
camp, and on inquiry found that they were suspected of being 
union men. Such testimony could be extended at length. Mr. 
Bowers himself has testified that his company employed "cut 
throats" as spies among the miners. 

Since the Colorado strike, a similar Kansas statute, forbid- 
ding discrimination against union men, has been declared 
unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. It 
had not been so declared before or during the strike. The 
operators merely ignored it. 

Statutes prohibiting blacklisting of employees were enacted 
by the Colorado legislature in 1887, 1897, and 1905. Although 
President Welborn of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company and 
the other operators deny blacklisting, it is charged by the 
Reverend Mr. Gaddis in his testimony before the Commission. 
And John McQuarrie, former under sheriff of Huerfano 
County, gave undisputed testimony that he was discharged 
by the Colorado & Southern Railroad on complaint of Presi- 
dent Welborn that he was too friendly with union officials. 

The use of the companies ' political power to influence legis- 
lation has already been shown in a recital of the history of 
eight-hour legislation. The record does not contain other 
specific instances. That they did possess power to influence 
legislation by town, city and county boards in Huerfano and 
Las Animas counties is an unavoidable inference from the tes- 
timony showing the extent of their political influence, and it 
is reasonable to assume that this power was used. 

It remains to discuss, among the purposes for which politi- 
cal domination was used, the companies ' control over coro- 
ners, sheriffs, and juries whose duties included the investiga- 


tion of personal injury cases or the awarding of damages for 
these injuries. 

Eeports of the State Inspector of Coal Mines of Colorado 
show that prior to 1909 the number of deaths in the coal mining 
industry have been nearly two to one for the United States as 
whole and from 1909 to 1913, about three and one-third to one. 
According to this official (Mr. James Dalrymple), 

over 50 per cent of all the fatal accidents are avoidable. 
* * * In the majority of accidents the deceased or in- 
jured person is held responsible because of negligence on 
his part. I do not agree with this because I believe in- 
competence, and not negligence, is the cause, and the per- 
son who is so incompetent that he knows practically noth- 
ing about the business in which he is engaged, and is able 
to understand practically nothing of what is said to him 
by those in charge, should not be held responsible for acci- 
dents to himself or others through his actions. 

The "incompetent" miners to whom Mr. Dalrymple refers 
were imported into Colorado in 1903, 1904 as strike breakers. 

Rev. Mr. Gaddis gives the death roll of the Colorado Fuel 
& Iron Co., in major explosions, omitting accidents in which 
only one or two lives were lost, as follows : April 2, 1906, 
Quartro, 19 killed; January 23, 1907, at Primero, 22 killed; 
May 5, 1907, at Engleville, 5 killed ; January 31, 1910, at Pri- 
mero, 76 killed; October 8, 1910, at Starkville, 56 killed. To- 
tal, 178 killed in five years. The same witness testified: 

During a recent period of a little over two years, there 
were nearly 180 violent deaths in mines of Las Animas 
County. Within a period of eight years and a radius of 
some 150 miles of Trinidad, 564 lives were crushed out. 
In 1914, statistics presented by the United States Bureau 
of Mines, charge 108 deaths to Colorado. 

For three years past the number of violent deaths for 
every 1,000 employees has increased. Fifty per cent of 
these fatal accidents are preventable, and yet an adverse 
deliverance of a coroner's jury was but once levied 


against the company during the past ten years. That 
perjury before the coroner is common, no one will deny 
that has serious regard for a breach of the ninth com- 

A few weeks ago a pit boss and colored miner were 
killed at Walsen by two runaway cars. It was a topic 
of conversation among the men of this camp, that the 
cars had not a double coupling as required. The com- 
pany was exculpated before the jury, and the ' i super ' ' as- 
sured the deputy state mine inspectors that the cars were 
double coupled. A few weeks after that incident some 
fifty colored men were discharged from the Walsen mine, 
and it was there where this report originated that the 
cars were single coupled; it started from the colored 
miners. * * * The " super' ' was required to reinstate 
the men. 

Mr. Welborn and Mr. Weitzel testified that the Colorado 
Fuel & Iron Company had begun a campaign for safety and 
had instituted first-aid and mine-rescue drills, and Mr. Dal- 
rymple, State Inspector of Coal Mines, testified that this com- 
pany was better than the others in making efforts to avoid 
accidents. But the testimony shows that even in the mines 
of this company the accident rate was high. Mr. Welborn and 
Mr. Weitzel attributed the high rate to geological and at- 
mospheric conditions in Colorado, which increase the danger 
of mine explosions. 

Enough has been clearly established to prove the unusual 
need in southern Colorado of a fair and equitable method 
of fixing compensation for the injury or death of mine 

The testimony shows that personal injuries suits against 
the companies are practically unknown, and that injured 
miners or the widows and children of killed miners are forced 
to accept whatever compensation the attorneys and other 
agents of the corporations see fit to give them. 

President Welborn of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. tes- 


tified that the amount of compensation is usually determined 
by consultation between Mr. Herrington, counsel for the com- 
pany, and himself, with the advice of Mr. Weitzel or any- 
one else familiar with the circumstances. He stated that the 
injured man "may be represented" by an attorney or foreign 
consul. In the last half dozen years Mr. Welborn did not 
recall more than two or three personal injury suits against 
the company. As far as Mr. Welborn remembered, the state- 
ment is correct that there has been no suit against the com- 
pany in Huerfano county for twenty years. 

The method of drawing coroners ' juries in Huerfano county, 
where Sheriff Farr was the political partner and tool of the 
Colorado Fuel & Iron Co., is described as follows in the sworn 
testimony of John McQuarrie, under sheriff of the county 
from 1903 until 1909. 

Q. Are you familiar with the methods by which cor- 
oner's and other juries have been selected in Huerfano 

A. Yes, I am. Speaking of the methods of drawing 
coroners' juries, I was always instructed, when being 
called to a mine to investigate an accident, to take the 
coroner, proceed to the mine, go to the superintendent, 
and find out who he wanted on the jury. That is the 
method that is employed in selecting a jury at any of the 
mines in Huerfano county. 

By Congressman Evans : 

Q. I find in the coroner's records in Trinidad 232 vio- 
lent deaths between January 1, 1910, and March 1, 1913. 
Of these cases, recorded by the coroner, I found that the 
names of the jurors were given in 30 cases out of the 
232; I found that a man by the name of J. C. Baldwin 
was foreman of the jury, — the coroner's jury* — in 24 of 
the 30 cases on which apparently a coroner's inquest was 
held. Will you tell me who J. C. Baldwin is? 

A. J. C. Baldwin has lived in Trinidad — I have lived 


there over 36 years, and Baldwin has been there about 
23. He is a gambler and bartender. 

Q. What political position, if any, does he hold? 

A. For the last five or six years he has acted as sec- 
retary for the Eepublican county central committee. He 
is a kind of pensioner, and in addition to that he is Dan 
Taylor's right-hand man in the first ward and foreman 
of the coroner's juries. 

Mr. McQuarrie said he knew of no case where the company 
was held responsible for negligence by a coroner's jury, and 
that as a rule the juries found that the victim met his death 
by his own carelessness. 

Mr. J. H. Patterson, a deputy clerk at Walsenburg, pre- 
sented to the Commission in Denver a certified copy of the 
record of the last ninety verdicts rendered by coroners ' juries 
in Huerfano county. These ninety verdicts recorded the 
deaths of 109 persons, of whom 82 did not speak English. In 
only one verdict of the 90 was the mine management held at 
fault, and 85 of them, testified Mr. Patterson, bore the lan- 
guage "his own negligence", or, "his own carelessness." 

Even had the camp physicians and the hospital system 
of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. been maintained at a large 
expense, instead of being entirely supported by the enforced 
contributions of employes, it is apparent from this record 
that the company could well afford such expense in view of 
its immunity from personal injury suits and its success in 
using the law against injured workmen and their helpless 

In the election of November, 1914, the people of Colorado 
voted on a measure providing that assumption of risk by the 
employe should no longer stand as a defense in personal in- 
juries suits. Although this measure was obviously in the in- 
terest of mine employees, sixteen precincts in the coal fields 
returned a vote of 912 against the measure and 573 in favor 
of it. 

The use of political control to deny justice to injured work- 


men and the families of employees killed or maimed in acci- 
dents mnst be regarded as the most dastardly of all the 
unsocial and criminal practices that caused the strike. 

Of the specific demands of the strikers still to be consid- 
ered there remains the demands for higher wages and pay- 
ment for dead work, and the demand for the abolition of the 
mine guard system. The belief has already been expressed 
that the question of wages was secondary in this strike. The 
Colorado wage scale was 10 per cent lower than the Wyoming 
scale, where mine owners, recognize the union. There is much 
testimony from miners and their representatives that the 
actual earnings were extremely low, and from the operators 
that these earnings were exceptionally high. It is difficult 
or impossible to resolve the conflict between this testimony 
from evidence in the possession of the Commission. No opin- 
ion or conclusion on the merits of the conflicting claims as to 
the miners' earnings in comparison with those of other dis- 
tricts is here advanced. Other subjects of controversy so far 
overshadowed the question of wages that elimination of this 
question would not have changed the progress of events in 
the slightest. 

The miners' demand for the abolition of the mine guard 
system sprung from wide-spread resentment against the em- 
ployment by the companies, as peace officers, of armed men 
clothed with the authority of town marshals and deputy sher- 
iffs and with the still greater and more arbitrary authority 
of the employing company. These men cooperated with spies, 
characterized by Mr. Bowers as " cut- throats", in keeping the 
camps rid of workmen who dared to exercise the right of free 
speech and to talk in favor of unionism or who were otherwise 
offensive to the company officials. 

The extent of the mine guard system and the readiness 
with which the force of guards could be increased whenever 
their employees became more restive and discontented than 
usual is well shown in the testimony of Sheriff Jeff Farr before 
the Commission in Denver. 

Witness McQuarrie, former under sheriff of Huerfano 


county, testified that Robert Lee, one of the camp marshals 
employed by the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co., was a violent bully 
who had entered the homes of the miners without cause and 
insulted their women, and toward whom the miners and their 
families felt an intense fear and hatred. Many of- Lee's of- 
fensive acts, said Mr. McQuarrie, were committed while he 
was under the influence of liquor. 

Mr. McQuarrie testified also that early in the strike he took 
charge of a force of about forty Texas cowboys and gun- 
men who had just arrived in Trinidad from Texas, and con- 
ducted them to Ludlow after Sheriff Gresham of Las Animas 
county had given them arms and deputy sheriff's commissions. 

The Colorado legislature of 1913, whose deliberations pre- 
ceded the strike, attempted to prevent the importation of 
armed guards by passing a law requiring that any person 
receiving a commission as deputy sheriff must have been a 
resident of the state for one year preceding the issuance of 
the commission. This law did not take effect before the 
strike, because employing interests invoked the referendum. 



The Refusal of a Confekence. 

This report has related the efforts of officials of the United 
Mine Workers to obtain a conference with the leading 
operators prior to the calling of the strike. These began 
with an attempt to arrange a conference through the good 
offices of Governor Amnions, by direct appeal in conciliatory 
letters sent to all operators on August 26, and through the 
good offices of the United States Department of Labor, acting 
after assurances that a strike was imminent unless such a con- 
ference could be arranged. It was not until more than a month 
had been spent in these fruitless endeavors, and until it be- 
came apparent that the operators would not so much as enter 
the same room with representatives of the Union, that, after a 
final written request for an interview in which the likelihood 
of a strike was plainly stated, the union officials called the 
convention which voted for a strike. 

Spies and local officials had kept the operators fully in- 
formed of the unrest existing in the coal camps. That this 
unrest was of long standing is shown by Mr. Bowers' letter 
of Sept. 19, 1913, to Mr. Murphy, in which he tells of the steps 
taken within the preceding year or two to forestall agitation. 
Before the strike began Mr. Welborn wrote to a director in 
New York, Mr. J. H. McClements, expressing the writer's 
anxiety and predicting that most of the men would go out if 
a strike were called. 

In his letter of Sept. 19 to Mr. Rockefeller's office, Mr. 
Bowers makes the significant admission that the operators 
believed they could avoid the strike by merely granting a 
conference to the union officials. He writes : 

The strike is called for the 23rd, but it is thought on 
the part of a good many operators that the officials, antici- 
pating being whipped, will undertake to sneak out if they 
can secure even an interview with the operators, which 


so far they have been unable to do, thus boasting before 
the public that they have secured the principal point; 
namely, recognition of the union. 

It was three days before the date of this letter that Mr. 
Eockefeller in New York had declined to see Mr. Ethelbert 
Stewart, of the United States Department of Labor, and in- 
stead had directed his attorney, Mr. Murphy, to receive Mr. 
Stewart and to refer him to the executive officials in Colorado. 

In the light of Mr. Bowers' admission that a mere confer- 
ence would have prevented the strike, the operators' refusal 
to grant such a conference must be regarded as making them 
responsible for all the disasters that followed. For it was 
a policy opposed to the spirit and the practice of the times, 
and the state of mind which dictated it can only be explained 
on the theory that the habit of arbitrary power had fastened 
itself on the men who ruled the coal mining counties from 
their offices in Denver. 

Governor Amnions continued his efforts to effect a settle- 
ment after the strike began. Violence had begun early in 
the strike ; armed men imported by the companies from Texas, 
New Mexico, West Virginia and Denver swarmed about the 
mining towns and clashed frequently with armed strikers 
from the tent colonies ; winter was coming on and a coal short- 
age threatened the State; miners and their wives and chil- 
dren numbering from 10,000 to 15,000 faced the winter in 
hastily established tent colonies at the mouths of the wind- 
swept canyons. 

On October 26 Governor Ammons called a conference of 
the policy committee of the United Mine Workers at his office, 
which was attended by President White of the United Mine 
Workers of America. The union officials expressed a willing- 
ness to settle on any reasonable basis. The Governor told 
the union officials that the operators were insisting on the state 
troops being called out, and he said : "Before I call them out, 
I am going to make another great effort to bring about a 
settlement, an amicable settlement, and I want you to help 


President White replied: "If the operators will but grant 
us a conference we know that this strike will be settled." 

Governor Amnions communicated with the operators, in- 
forming them that he believed the union officials would be 
willing to waive the question of union recognition and an in- 
crease in wages, and asked if the operators had anything to 
offer . The operators replied that they certainly would not 
make any concessions to the men who at that moment were 
attacking their properties and employees. 

On October 27 Messrs. Welborn, Osgood and Brown, con- 
stituting the policy committee of operators, called at Gov- 
ernor Ammons ' office at his request. 

On the previous evening Mr. Welborn, in a telephone con- 
versation, had suggested to the Governor that the operators 
would sign a letter promising to obey all state laws affecting 
the conduct of their mines and the well-being of their em- 
ployes. Governor Ammons had prepared such a letter with 
the aid of former United States Senator T. M. Patterson, 
and the draft was submitted to the operators' committee. 
They refused to sign it without alterations, alleging that Sen- 
ator Patterson had not quoted correctly the law prohibiting 
discrimination against members of labor unions and that 
in its present form the letter inferred an admission that they 
had not previously obeyed the state laws. They prepared a 
substitute letter in which the laws were referred to in only 
general terms and which contained a statement that the oper- 
ators would observe all laws, as they had in the past. When 
this letter was submitted to the union officials as a basis for 
settlement, they rejected it saying the letter contained noth- 
ing but a general promise to obey the law and that such prom- 
ises had been made before and broken. 

On November 11 or 12 Governor Ammons made a verbal 
proposition to the strike leaders whereby operations might 
be resumed in the mines in Routt county. These mines were 
not owned by the large companies and were at a distance from 
the center of trouble, in Las Animas and Huerfano counties. 
Any settlement there would not have affected seriously the 


strike situation as a whole, and would have been comparatively 
unimportant. The Governor's proposition included a 10 per 
cent wage increase; no discrimination against miners on 
strike ; recognition of the right of miners to belong to a union 
without interference by the companies; the miners to have 
the right to a check weighman and to board and trade where 
they pleased, and the formation of a committee to settle future 
disputes and grievances. This arrangement, it was proposed, 
should remain in force until March 1, 1914. 

The policy committee of the United Mine "Workers replied 
in a letter dated November 12 that it had no authority to 
deviate from the instructions laid down in the Trinidad con- 
vention in September; the committee could not enter into a 
verbal agreement or make any change in demands without call- 
ing a special convention. It pointed out also that any devia- 
tion from the demands of the Trinidad convention would be 
unfair to the independent operators who had signed the union 
scale and who at that time were employing about 1,500 miners. 
Although they did not so state in their letter to the Governor, 
the union officials believed that the small operators responsible 
for this proposition wished merely to arrange a truce with the 
union throughout the winter in order that they might operate 
their mines without difficulty and profit from the high prices 
brought about by the tying up of the large companies. 

Governor Amnions then asked the policy committee of union 
officials to submit a proposition for a settlement of the strike. 
The committee proposed that the operators meet and confer 
with five representatives of the union, of whom three were to 
be miners on strike and the remaining two Mr. Lawson and 
Mr. McLennan, both of whom were residents of Colorado. 
Any settlement to be reached as a result of such a conference 
was to be submitted to the miners in a special convention. 
The operators ignored this proposition. 

Governor Amnions next asked President Wilson to ask Sec- 
retary Wilson of the Department of Labor to go to Colorado 
and try to effect a settlement. Secretary Wilson went to 
Denver and remained ten days. Messrs. Welborn, Osgood and 


Brown agreed to meet three striking miners formerly em- 
ployed by the companies involved. Conferences were held in 
the Governor's office, with Secretary Wilson present. The 
operators had insisted on a distinct understanding that the 
question of union recognition should not be raised. After 
each point was discussed Governor Amnions would call for 
a vote of the three operators and the three miners, Messrs. 
Evans, Allison and Hammon. All points were tentatively 
agreed upon except the question of wages and a plan for the 
adjustment of future disputes, according to Governor Am- 
nions' testimony before the Commission. The conference de- 
cided that Governor Ammons should write a letter suggesting 
a settlement on the lines discussed in the conference. The 
plan of settlement proposed in Governor Ammons ' letter was' 
substantially the same as the proposition made by the oper- 
ators in October during the conference with Governor Am- 
mons and Senator Patterson. It made no provision for an 
increase in wages, a contract of any kind, or for machinery 
for the settlement of future differences. It provided that 
the operators would obey the laws; and that all employees 
on strike should be given work except where their places had 
been filled by others or where they had been guilty of acts of 

Secretary Wilson, while approving this letter as far as it 
went, objected that it made no provision for the adjustment 
of future disputes, and he wrote a second letter covering that 
point. The operators rejected Secretary Wilson's proposi- 
tion, and accepted the plan of settlement set forth in Gov- 
ernor Ammons' letter. 

Governor Ammons' proposition was unanimously rejected 
by the strikers at mass meeting called for the purpose of act- 
ing on it. The operators alleged that this rejection was 
"railroaded through," and that the strikers, had they under- 
stood the proposition, would have accepted it. 

It is this plan of settlement contained in Governor Am- 
mons ' letter of November 27, to which Mr. Rockefeller and the 
other operators referred repeatedly in the statements and bul- 


letins which they issued later in the strike after the Ludlow 
massacre had impressed on them the wisdom of self defense. 
The effort is made to convince the public that in accepting the 
Governor's proposition the operators conceded all that rea- 
sonable men could ask, and that the strikers in rejecting it 
became responsible for an unjustifiable continuance of the 
strike. Therefore it is important to arrive at a correct con- 
clusion regarding the validity of the operators' action as an 
effort in good faith to meet the strikers half way and as a 
modification of their previous arbitrary refusal to yield an 

Following is Mr. Bowers' comment on the conference of 
November 26. It is contained in a letter to Mr. Rockefeller 
dated November 28, the day following the rejection of Secre- 
tary Wilson's plan of arbitratiop by the operators and of 
Governor Amnions ' plan of settlement by the strikers : 

I see a "nigger in the woodpile" in Secretary Wil- 
son's proposition to have an arbitration board consider 
two points, one of which is (a) the question of an increase 
in wages, which, if the board granted, however slight it 
might be, then the labor leaders would declare the coun- 
try over that they had gained a victory over the operators 
and forced tbem to make a concession, which we do not 
propose to permit in any circumstances. I can see no par- 
ticular objection to the formation of an arbitration board, 
as suggested by Secretary Wilson, providing the three 
miners are non-union men who have remained in the em- 
ploy of the coal operators during this strike, but to this 
I am sure that neither Secretary Wilson nor the labor 
leaders would consent. What they want is to get on the 
board three striking miners who are union men, and they 
would keep up a perpetual controversy on a hundred and 
one little technicalities, which the labor leaders are no- 
torious for doing wherever union men are employed. 

And Mr. Welborn's comment is contained in the following: 


The Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, 

Denver, Colo. 
J. F. Welborn, President. 

December 4, 1913. 
My dear Mr. McClement : 

We feel that we have made substantial progress in the 
conduct of the strike since I last wrote you, although the 
increase in output during the three weeks has not been 

At the urgent request of the Governor and under some 
newspaper pressure, we met three of our striking miners 
in conference with the Governor November 26th. There 
has never been any substantial objection to meeting our 
own employees or our former employees for the purpose 
of discussing proper matters, yet we have felt that such 
a meeting might be construed as an indirect recognition 
of the officers of the union. 

We succeeded, however, in yielding to the requested 
meeting in such manner as to have the selection of the men, 
nominally at least, in the hands of the Governor, and when 
the meeting was called to order by the Governor who acted 
as chairman, the miners in answer to questions stated that 
they represented only themselves directly and would be 
obliged to take back to the miners for their approval or 
disapproval whatever understandings, if any, might be 
reached. We reached no direct understanding ; in fact we 
wanted none, as we were almost sure that had an under- 
standing between the miners and ourselves been reached 
it would have received the stamp of approval of the of- 
ficers of the organization and in that way been twisted 
into an arrangement between us and the organization. 

But the most conclusive evidence regarding the bad faith 
of the operators in this alleged consent to meet their men is 
contained in the following extract from the examination of 
Mr. Ivy L. Lee at Washington, in May, 1915. Mr. Lee had vis- 
ited Colorado and had become, since the strike, a director rep- 
resenting Mr. Rockefeller in the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. 


Commissioner Weinstock: Are you aware of the fact, 
Mr. Lee, that it was brought out in the testimony here, 
that the operators did meet with representatives of the 
strikers in the office of the Governor some two months 
after the strike took place? 

Mr. Lee: Yes, that has been brought out, Mr. Wein- 
stock; but I cannot say that I have been impressed with 
the fact that the representatives of the men who met the 
operators were truly representative. 

Commissioner Weinstock: Now, will you explain in 
what way they did and did not represent the men? 

Mr. Lee: Well, I just give you my impression. I have 
not been impressed with the representative character of 
that committee. 

Commissioner Weinstock: Do you recall who the mem- 
bers were? 

Mr. Lee: I do not. I simply give you a general im- 
pression. My feeling is that that was one serious mistake. 

Commissioner Weinstock: Meeting these men in the 
office of the Governor? 

Mr. Lee: It was the failure to meet the real repre- 
sentatives and talk it over with them. 

Commissioner Weinstock: You don't know how these 
men were chosen that met in the Governor's office? 

Mr. Lee: No; I simply give you my impression as to 
their general standing. 

In a final effort to bring about a settlement, Secretary Wil- 
son held a conference with the operators on December 4, 
at which he proposed to create a conciliation board the mem- 
bers of which would be selected by both sides. In the mean- 
time President Wilson had written to members of the oper- 
ators' committee pointing out the serious consequences of a 
continued conflict and urging a spirit of accommodation. The 
operators refused to consider Secretary Wilson's suggestion, 


saying it would of necessity involve recognition of the union 
and its officers and on the further ground that there were 
no differences between the operators and their employees. 
Secretary Wilson returned to Washington. 

Eepeated efforts to settle the strike by private and public 
agencies were made during the winter that followed. All 
were resisted by the operators, who pointed to the strikers' 
rejection of the plan suggested by Governor Ammons in his 
letter of November 27. The most important of these efforts 
was that of Representative Foster, chairman of the Congres- 
sional sub-committee that held extended public hearings in 
Denver and Trinidad during February and March. Dr. Foster 
wrote to Mr. Rockefeller and visited him in New York in a 
futile endeavor to convince him that the differences should be 
arbitrated. Mr. Rockefeller said the matter was being handled 
entirely in Colorado and refused to act. The operators re- 
plied to Dr. Foster's request for arbitration that the miners 
had refused the terms offered them in November and that 
consequently all the disorder that had occurred from that date 
was due and chargeable to the union. 

Mr. Rockefeller continued his policy of resistance after the 
Ludlow massacre. He telegraphed the Denver officials strongly 
urging them to issue a statement that would recall the re- 
jection of Governor Ammons' plan by the miners and that 
would thus place the blame for all that had happened on the 
strikers. He refused to see Judge Ben Lindsey, a distin- 
guished citizen of Colorado who went to New York and asked 
for an interview. 

With the nation aroused by the Ludlow massacre, Secretary 
Wilson renewed his efforts to bring about peace. He appointed 
a commission composed of Mr. Hywell Davies, a Kentucky 
coal operator, and W. R. Fairley of Alabama, a former official 
of the United Mine Workers, to go to Colorado and attempt 
mediation. This commission spent several weeks in Colo- 
rado. Although Mr. Davies was himself a coal operator, he 
encountered considerable difficulty in securing the consent 
of some of the large operators to answer a list of printed 


questions which he submitted to all the operators with the 
object of obtaining all the facts. The operators insisted that 
they would deal with him only on the understanding that he 
was to make no effort to bring about a settlement with the 
union. Mr. Davis found the operators extremely bitter and 
obstinate. Messrs. Davies and Fairley completed their in- 
vestigation late in the summer, and submitted a report which 
later served as the basis for a plan of settlement proposed by 
President Wilson September 5th. 

Acting after all other agencies had failed, and when the war 
in Europe and the consequent depression in this country had 
rendered the needless continuance of civil strife particularly 
intolerable, President Wilson himself addressed a plan of set- 
tlement to the operators and the strikers. Under date of Sep- 
tember 5, 1914, he addressed each operator as follows: 

The White House, 


September 5, 1914. 
My dear Sir : 

I feel justified in addressing you with regard to the 
present strike situation in Colorado because it has lasted 
so long, has gone through so many serious stages, and is 
fraught with so many possibilities that it has become of 
national importance. 

As you know, federal troops have been in the State for 
the purpose of maintaining order now for a long time. 
I have been hoping every day during that time that some 
light would come out of the perplexities of the situation, 
some indication that the mine operators and the miners 
who are now on strike were willing to consider proposals 
of accommodation and settlement, but no such indication 
has reached me, and I am now obliged to determine 
whether I am justified in using the Army of the United 
States indefinitely for police purposes. 

Many things may come out of this situation if it is not 
handled with public spirit and with a sincere desire to 


safeguard the public as well as all others concerned ; per- 
haps the most serious of them all the feeling which is 
being generated and the impression of the public that 
no one is willing to act, no one willing to yield any- 
thing, no one willing even to consider terms of accommo- 

As you know, two representatives of the Government 
of the United States have been actively engaged in in- 
vestigating the whole situation and in trying to reach a 
dispassionate conclusion as to what it is possible to do 
in justice to both sides not only, but also, in the interest 
of the public. The result of their investigations and of 
their very thoughtful consideration in the matter has been 
the drafting of the enclosed " tentative basis for the ad- 
justment' ' of the strike. I recommend it to you for your 
most serious consideration. I hope that you will con- 
sider it as if you were acting for the whole country, and I 
beg that you will regard it as urged upon your acceptance 
by myself with very deep earnestness. This is a time, I 
am sure you will feel, when everything should be done 
that it is possible for men to do to see that all untoward 
and threatening circumstances of every sort are taken out 
of the life of the people of the United States. 

Sincerely yours, 
Enc. (Signed) Woodrow Wilson. 

Draft of a Tentative Basis for the Adjustment of the 
Colorado Strike. 

Whereas, the industrial conflict in the coal mining fields 
of Colorado has disrupted the peace of those sections of 
the State to the extent that a state of war has practically 
existed for some time, and 

Whereas, a temporary peace is maintained by the 
presence of the Federal troops; 

Therefore, there should be established a three-year- 
truce, subject to : 


1. The enforcement of mining and labor laws of the 

2. That all striking miners who have not been found 
guilty of violation of the law shall be given employment, 
by the employer they formerly worked for, and where 
the place of the employe has been filled, he shall be given 
employment as a miner at the same or other mines of 
the company. 

3. Intimidation of union or non-union men strictly 

4. Current scale of wages, rules and regulations for 
each mine to be printed and posted. 

5. Each mine to have a Grievance Committee to be se- 
lected by majority ballot at a meeting called for the pur- 
pose, in which all employes (except officials of the com- 
pany) have the right to participate. 

Members of said committee must be employed at least 
six months at the individual mine before being eligible. 

Married men to be in the majority on each committee. 

Grievances to be first taken up individually with the 
proper officer of the company. Failing adjustment, they 
can refer to their local grievance committee for further 
consideration with the mine officials. Still failing adjust- 
ment, the matter shall be submitted to a Commission com- 
posed of three men to be appointed by the President of 
the United States and which shall be representative of 
each side, with the third member to act as umpire, when- 
ever necessary. This Commission shall, during the three 
years of truce, serve as adjusters or referees in all dis- 
putes (whether individual or collective) affecting wages, 
working and social conditions. 

Said Commission shall devote primarily all the neces- 
sary time to the consideration and adjustment of such 

6. It is understood as a condition of the creation of 
said Commission, that during the life of the truc( 


(a) The claim for contractual relations is to be waived, 
but this shall not prevent the voluntary agreement be- 
tween any employer and their employes during the life 
of this truce. 

(b) No mine guards to be employed, but this does not 
preclude the employment of necessary watchmen. 

(c) In the establishment of the truce the presence of 
the Federal or State troops should become unnecessary. 

(d) There shall be no picketing, parading, colonizing, 
or mass campaigning by representatives of any labor or- 
ganization of miners that are parties to this truce, which 
will interfere with the working operations of any mine 
during the said period of three years. 

(e) During said truce, the decisions of the Commission 
in cases submitted shall be final and binding on employers 
and employes. 

(f ) There shall be no suspension of work pending the 
investigation and reaching a decision on any dispute. 

(g) The suspension of a mine over six consecutive 
days by the company may be authorized for a cause sat- 
isfactory to the Commission, but not pending any dispute. 

(h) Wilful violations of any of these conditions will be 
subject to such penalties as may be imposed by the Com- 

On account of the mutual benefits derived from the 
truce, the employers and employes should each pay one- 
half of the expenses of the Commission. 

Respectfuly submitted, 

Commissioners of Conciliation. 

President Wilson's plan was promptly accepted by the pol- 
icy committee of the Union, subject to ratification by the strik- 
ers. A special convention of the miners was held at Trini- 
dad, September 15, and the delegates by an almost unanimous 
vote accepted the proposed plan of settlement. 


The operators, however, addressed a letter to the President 
flatly rejecting his plan. Their particular objection was to the 
provision for the appointment of a permanent commission by 
the President to act as conciliators during the three-year pe- 
riod. This they regarded as an interference with their busi- 
ness by outsiders that could not be tolerated. They also de- 
clared that it would be impossible to re-employ strikers not 
guilty of acts of violence, because to do so would mean the 
discharge of men who had risked death or injury during the 

The operators' refusal to accede to the President's wishes 
came after they had been fully advised that public opinion, 
as expressed through the press of the nation, strongly sup- 
ported the President and approved his plan. Writing under 
instructions from Mr. Eockefeller, Mr. Murphy addressed 
President Welborn on September 8, as follows: 

The fact that the President of the United States has 
suggested a plan of settlement and has given it out to the 
public produces a delicate situation which we have no 
doubt you gentlemen in the west will handle in the same 
careful and diplomatic way in which you have handled the 
whole situation, thus far, avoiding on the one hand any 
entanglement with the labor union and on the other an 
attitude which would arouse a hostile public opinion. We 
are, of course, greatly interested, and if you think we can 
be of any service in helping you to prepare a reply we 
shall be most happy to collaborate on any draft of one 
which you may send us. 

Mr. Rockefeller here sends his instruction that there be no 
entanglement with the labor union, which, it apparently was 
feared, might grow out of an acceptance of the President's 
plan. The letter of Mr. Murphy apparently conveys Mr. 
Rockefeller's wish that his Colorado officials shall not be un- 
duly impressed or swayed from their course merely by a re- 
quest from the President of the United States. 

But Mr. Rockefeller's staff in New York were impressed 


with the support given to President Wilson's plan of settle- 
ment after it had been made public. Mr. Murphy sends Mr. 
Welborn the clippings, and writes on September 16 : 

I am impressed with the frequency with which they 
make the point that the parties should either accept the 
President's plan or suggest some other. It seems to me 
clear that public opinion will demand either the accept- 
ance of the President's proposition or some constructive 
suggestion from the operators. A mere refusal to do 
anything would be disastrous. 

How the Company sought to appease public opinion by in- 
serting in the letter of rejection to the President, a statement 
that a plan was being developed for dealing with the men 
even more comprehensive than that urged by the President, 
has already been set forth, together with the evidence showing 
that at the time Mr. Welborn wrote this letter he had not even 
formulated such a plan, nor, apparently, had decided to take 
such action. 

It has already been made clear that Mr. Welborn 's rejec- 
tion of the President's proposal did not represent merely 
his personal will. Supplementing Mr. Murphy's earlier letter 
with its warning against an "entanglement," Mr. Rocke- 
feller sent Mr. Ivy L. Lee, his publicity expert and personal 
adviser, to Denver to assist Mr. Welborn in the preparation of 
the reply to the President. On September 18, 1914, Mr. Wel- 
born wrote to Mr. Murphy : 

Before receiving your letter, we had for several days, 
in fact since Mr. Lee's arrival, Monday afternoon, been 
engaged in the task of framing a letter which would, as 
tactfully as possible, set forth to the public our point of 
view. Mr. Lee tells me he sent Mr. Rockefeller last night 
a copy of the letter we drafted before your own arrived. 
We have today very carefully gone over the whole sub- 
ject, and have been glad to embody in our letter some of 
your suggestions. 

The fact that two members of Mr. Rockefeller's personal 


staff were assisting in the preparation of the reply to the 
President was to be carefully concealed from the public. In 
the same letter Mr. Welborn writes: 

But for Mr. Lee 's presence here, and the invaluable as- 
sistance he has rendered in the preparation of our reply, I 
should have gone to New York for consultation with you, 
and considering the probable public criticism of my pres- 
ence at your office at the time when it would have been 
generally known that the answers to the President's pro- 
posal were being prepared, I think it is very fortunate 
that we have been able to make reply direct from Den- 
ver, with the public fully informed as to my presence 

Enough has been told to prove that a spirit of accommoda- 
tion or conciliation at no time actuated the mine owners 
either in Colorado or New York. The evidence is conclusive 
that such a spirit, if manifested, would have prevented the 
strike and all the disastrous events that accompanied it. 



Violence and Policing. 

The first act of violence in connection with the strike was 
the killing of Gerald Lippiatt, an organizer for the United 
Mine Workers of America, by George Belcher, a Baldwin- 
Felts detective in the employ of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. 
Lippiatt was shot down on a public street in Trinidad be- 
fore the strike began. There were the usual charges of an 
altercation, and Belcher asserts that he fired in self defense. 

But the question as to who committed the first act of vio- 
lence is of minor importance. Conditions in the coal mining 
district were such that violence was inevitable. The testimony 
of Sheriff Jefferson Farr and former Under-sheriff John Mc- 
Quarrie proves that men accustomed to the ready use of a re- 
volver or rifle had been imported into the district in large 
numbers from Texas, New Mexico, West Virginia, and other 
sections by the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company and its asso- 
ciates. These mercenary adventurers had been employed and 
armed by the coal companies prior to the strike, and had been 
given deputy sheriffs ' commissions by the sheriffs of Las 
Animas and Huerfano counties, who were political partners 
and agents of the coal companies. 

When the miners left their homes on company property 
and established tent colonies on land leased by the United Mine 
Workers, they knew that they could expect no protection from 
officers of the law. A sheriff who at the company's behest 
would deputize hundreds of men whom he had never seen, and 
who, for all he knew, " might be red handed murderers fresh 
from the scenes of their crimes," could not be counted upon 
to safeguard the rights of striking employees of a company 
that was his partner in the liquor business and his political 
master. Mr. Lawson, the most prominent Colorado official of 
the United Mine Workers, knew from bitter experience how 
low the sheriff of Huerfano county would stoop to aid the 
operators and to crush the strike. The scene was set, so far as 
the operators were concerned, for a repetition of 1903 and 


1904, when every constitutional right of the strikers had heen 
violated and they had been deported, imprisoned and as- 

At the inception of the strike it seems clear that the union 
officials and the strikers determined that 1903 was not to be 
repeated; that at the first attempt of the operators' private 
army to override their rights, there should be resistance. But 
it is clearly established that the operators had employed 326 
armed mine guards in Huerfano county alone prior to Sept. 
1, and that no step to arm the strikers was taken by union 
officials until twelve days after that date. Mr. Welborn gives 
Sept. 12 as the first date when, it is alleged by the operators, 
arms were purchased of a Pueblo hardware dealer by agents 
of the union. Union officials have frankly admitted the pur- 
chase of arms and have quoted that section of the Constitu- 
tion of Colorado which reads: "The right of no person to 
keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, and prop- 
erty, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally sum- 
moned, shall be called in question." 

Active in the management of the companies' armed guards 
were agents and officials of the notorious Baldwin-Felts De- 
tective Agency of West Virginia. This agency already had a 
record for ruthless and brutal treatment of strikers, acquired 
during the coal strike in West Virginia. It was employed 
by the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company to aid in recruiting 
guards, to install and operate machine guns at the principal 
mines, and generally to supervise and assist the work of pro- 
tecting the properties and suppressing the strike. Under di- 
rection of A. C. Felts and Detectives Belk and Belcher of this 
agency, an armored automobile was built at the shops of the 
Colorado Fuel & Iron Company at Pueblo. This car, chris- 
tened "The Death Special," was mounted with a machine 
gun and used first by company guards and later by militia 

In addition to the presence of large numbers of armed 
guards and the absence of honest and impartial public offi- 
cials to control them, there existed the elements of violence 


that are common to all large strikes. The strikers had es- 
tablished tent colonies at strategic positions near the mouths 
of the canyons in which the mines were situated, so that strike 
breakers going from the railroad stations to the mines were 
forced to pass near them. The history of strikes shows that 
workmen on strike feel that they have a property interest in 
their jobs, and that other workmen who take their places 
and thus aid their employers to defeat the strike are fit sub- 
jects for abuse, ridicule, and violence. It is only by ostracis- 
ing and intimidating strike breakers that organized workmen 
can hope to discourage the practice and thereby win in a 
struggle for higher wages or for industrial democracy. For 
after negotiation fails, their only means of exerting a com- 
pelling influence on the employer is to stop production by quit- 
ting work and to prevent a resumption of operations by keep- 
ing out strike breakers. And society, if it wishes to prevent 
violence in industrial disputes, has only two courses open: 
to prohibit strikes, and in so doing to establish involuntary 
servitude; or to prohibit the importation of strike breakers 
at least until the employers consent to meet officials of the 
strikers ? union. 

The second act of violence in connection with the strike, 
and the first after it actually began, was the killing of Robert 
Lee, a marshal employed by the Colorado Fuel & Iron Com- 
pany. He was shot at Segundo on Sept. 24, the day after the 
strike began. Mr. Welborn testified that a striker in ambush 
shot Lee while he was attempting to arrest four strikers who 
were found engaged in tearing down a foot bridge. According 
to former Under-sheriff John McQuarrie, Lee was a bully 
who had insulted the wives of miners and had incurred their 
bitter hatred. 

On Oct. 7, 1913, there was an exchange of shots between a 
party of detectives and company agents and a party of strikers 
from the Ludlow tent colony. An attack by mine guards was 
made on the Ludlow tent colony Oct. 9, and one miner was 
killed. Following this attack, the Policy Committee of the 
Union sent a letter to the operators deploring the killing at 
Ludlow and asking their assistance and cooperation to pre- 


vent any similar occurrences in the future. No reply was 

On Oct. 17 a party of mine guards rode to the Forbes tent 
colony in an armored automobile and opened fire on the col- 
ony with a machine gun. One man was killed and a boy was 
shot nine times through the leg. A few days later mine guards 
fired on strikers in the streets of Walsenburg and killed three 
union men. 

Enraged by these occurrences, and alarmed by rumors of 
attack, the tent colonists began arming themselves rapidly. 
At Ludlow 150 women and children were sheltered in the tent 
colony, and reports that the mine guards were coming in an 
armored train to attack the colony as they had attacked Forbes 
colony caused great excitement. 

The wanton attack on Forbes colony, the record of the oper- 
ators and their agents for intimidating and overriding strik- 
" ers and union organizers, and the character of the men em- 
ployed as guards lead to the conclusion that a deliberate at- 
tempt was made at this time to terrorize the strikers in order 
to prevent further desertions and to drive the men already on 
strike back to work. On the part of the union officials and 
their followers there was a determination that such an attempt 
should not succeed. 

At this time Lieut. K. E. Linderfelt of the Colorado Na- 
tional Guard had arrived at Ludlow from Denver. He testi- 
fied that he had been sent by Adjutant General John Chase 
to investigate and to determine whether or not the militia 
were needed. The conduct of Linderfelt after his arrival and 
his status at this period is clouded with mystery. Instead 
of conducting himself as an impartial investigator he ac- 
cepted a deputy sheriff's commission and took charge of a 
force of mine guards employed by the companies in the Ludlow 
district to escort strike breakers from the station to the mines 
in adjoining canyons. Linderfelt was a professional soldier 
and machine gun operator, with a record of service in the 
Philippines and the Mexican revolution. His conduct later 
in the strike proved him to be belligerent, hot tempered, 
domineering and brutal. 


On the day following the killing of the three strikers at 
Walsenburg, in the adjoining county, a fight started between 
Linderfelt 's detail of mine guards and the Ludlow tent col- 
onists. Linderfelt and his men retreated to Berwind Canyon, 
after being reinforced by a force of sixty guards. He esti- 
mated by the volume of firing that the strikers had a force 
of from 150 to 200 men, "possibly less." One deputy was 
killed. Early the next morning, according to Linderfelt, an 
attacking force which he estimated at 25 or 30 strikers, fired 
down into Berwind from the hills above. After an hour of 
firing the strikers retired. Meanwhile Sheriff Gresham and 
A. C. Felts of the Baldwin-Felts Detective agency recruited 
a force of fifteen local militiamen and about fifty mine guards 
in Trinidad. This force was entrained on steel box cars, 
and the train was equipped with machine guns. After some 
difficulty they induced a crew to man the train and it started 
toward Ludlow. The strikers were notified of its coming, and, 
thinking this was the i i armored train, ' ' from which the mine 
guards were to shoot up the Ludlow colony, those colonists 
who were armed hurried along the tracks toward Trinidad 
and took up positions on a hill about a mile south of Ludlow 
to await its arrival. They were determined to stop the train 
if possible. When the train arrived the shooting began. The 
engineer was killed, and the train was forced to turn back to 
Forbes Junction where the mine guards detrained and made 
their way across the hills to the canyon where Linderfelt 
and his man had taken refuge. 

On the following morning, Oct. 27, a body of strikers at- 
tacked the power house and mine buildings where the guards 
were sheltered. Two children were shot while in bed. The 
firing lasted about thirty minutes. The only known casual- 
ties were the two children, but Linderfelt said he found "a 
great many pools of blood up there, and I think thousands of 
empty shells." 

Mr. Lawson had been visiting the Ludlow tent colony for 
several days prior to Oct. 26, when he went to Denver to at- 
tend a conference in Governor Amnions ' office. He was pres- 


ent during much of the fighting described above. This fact 
and the extent of the fighting indicates that the union offi- 
cials and the strikers had decided upon a vigorous policy to 
prevent the mine guards and detectives from shooting into 
and terrorizing the crowded Ludlow colony as they had that 
at Forbes. There is no reason to doubt either the sincerity 
or the reasonableness of their belief that a murderous attack 
on the Ludlow colony was imminent. Enough has been estab- 
lished as to the desperate methods to which peace officers 
would resort in behalf of the companies to justify a very 
real terror and excitement. 

In all discussion and thought regarding violence in con- 
nection with the strike, the seeker after truth must remem- 
ber that government existed in southern Colorado only as 
an instrument of tyranny and oppression in the hands of the 
operators; that, once having dared to oppose that tyranny 
in a strike, the miners' only protection for themselves and 
their families lay in the physical force which they could 

It remains to be seen how even the supreme authority of 
the State failed to protect them in their struggle for the right 
to work and live as free men and to bring up their children 
in an atmosphere where law and order was not synonymous 
with the anarchistic will of a lawless corporation. 



The Colorado Militia and the Steike. 

While the strikers and mine guards were waging guerrilla 
warfare on October 26 and 27, Governor Amnions of Denver 
was making a last effort to bring about a settlement. When 
his efforts failed he issued orders to Adjutant General Chase, 
calling out the militia and ordering General Chase to occupy 
the strike district. The fight between Linderfelt's men and 
the strikers in Berwind Canyon occurred on October 27. On 
the following day the State troops took the field. The units 
sent into the field included cavalry, infantry and artillery. 

Up to this time and for several weeks thereafter Governor 
Ammons had devoted all his efforts to bringing about a set- 
tlement on a basis that would be fair to all concerned, and no 
serious question had been raised as to his fairness and impar- 
tiality. In his orders to General Chase regarding the conduct 
of the troops in the strike zone, he specified that the troops 
should be used, first, to afford protection to all property ; sec- 
ond, to afford protection to all men who were then at work; 
third, to protect any men who might wish to return to work ; 
but that under no circumstances should the troops be used 
to aid in the installation of imported strikebreakers. In 
giving these orders Governor Ammons adopted the recom- 
mendation of former United States Senator Thomas M. Pat- 
terson, a resident of Colorado for forty-two years and one of 
the leaders in Colorado of the political party to which Gov- 
ernor Ammons belonged. Senator Patterson's views were 
based on a varied experience in dealing with labor disturb- 
ances, as a public official, a politician, a mine owner, a news- 
paper publisher and a public spirited citizen. Governor Am- 
mons accepted his view that to permit the use of the troops 
in escorting strikebreakers would be to turn them over to 
one of the parties to the conflict. That this policy of Gov- 
ernor Ammons was not out of line with the correct theory 
of policing strikes is indicated by the fact that when the 


Federal troops entered the field seven months later similar 
orders were issued to them by the Secretary of War. 

The wisdom of prohibiting the importation of strikebreak- 
ers as a means of maintaining order has been amply demon- 
strated, but this policy rests on a firmer basis than its mere 
expediency. The record in Colorado shows that in 1903 and 
1904, and again during the strike under discussion, the coal 
operators had no scruples in taking steps to displace men who 
for years had been attached to the mining communities by 
ties of family, friendships and love of State, with homeless 
and penniless immigrant workmen from distant states. The 
record shows that strikebreakers were imported in carload 
lots under the guard of private detectives who recruited them 
in distant cities, and that both on the train and after their 
arrival in Colorado they were treated more as chattels than 
as free men. Contracts in the possession of the Commission 
made by detective agencies engaged in such work show that 
these agencies guarantee against the escape of strikebreakers 
enroute by providing guards for the front and rear entrances 
of the railway coaches. So extensive are the organizations 
of such agencies that strikebreakers can be supplied within a 
short time in any numbers. If employers and strikebreaking 
agencies are to be permitted to operate in this fashion without 
let or hindrance, it means that entire communities of home- 
making and home-loving citizens can be displaced almost over 
night by an army of homeless vagabonds, drawn from the 
scum of the labor markets of widely scattered cities. This 
practice makes wanderers of hard-working and home-loving 
men whose only offense is that they have taken part in a 
strike. It fills strikers with hatred and leads inevitably to vio- 
lence, and finally it has a disastrous effect on the community 
and the State by working a deterioration in the quality of the 

Two days before the State troops were called out, Mr. Law- 
son, the strikers ' leader, had been called to Denver to be pres- 
ent during the final unsuccessful attempt to procure a settle- 
ment. He returned to the strike zone October 29 and ad- 
dressed the strikers in the Ludlow Tent Colony, informing 


them that the State troops were to be strictly impartial, that 
they would not assist in the importation of strikebreakers, and 
that they meant to disarm everyone, mine guards and strikers 
alike. He asked the strikers to welcome the militia and to 
surrender their arms peaceably. 

Good reason existed for a distrustful and suspicious attitude 
toward the State troops on the part of the strikers. Lieutenant 
Linderfelt had come to the strike zone as a representative of 
General Chase, the commanding officer of the State troops, 
and instead of acting impartially had taken command of a 
detail of mine guards and deputies engaged in escorting strike- 
breakers from the Ludlow station to the mines. General Chase 
himself, nine years before, had commanded the State troops 
at Cripple Creek during the strike of metalliferous miners, 
and had been active in arresting strikers in large numbers 
and imprisoning them in the notorious "bull pens. ,, Senator 
Patterson testified before this Commission that he was con- 
vinced at the time, and still believes, that the Mine Owners' 
Association, through its committee, really directed the opera- 
tion of the troops. During this strike of 1904 at Cripple 
Creek the District Judge ordered the release of arrested 
strikers on a writ of habeas corpus. On this occasion troops 
under General Chase's command guarded the interior of the 
court room and presented arms when the Judge entered. Im- 
mediately after the order of release General Chase arose and 
announced that he must decline to comply with the request 
of the court and ordered the military guard to keep the men 
under arrest and to take them out as prisoners. Not only 
was this same General Chase now the commanding officer, but 
his principal aid was Major Edward J. Boughton, attorney 
for the Cripple Creek Mine Owners' Association, that had, 
according to Senator Patterson, directed the operations of 
the troops during the strike nine years previous. 

In spite of evidence that prominent officers of the guard 
might be expected to favor the operators, the strikers at 
Ludlow and elsewhere complied with Mr. Lawson's request, 
and, on the arrival of the troops, greeted them with band 
music, parades and cheering. General Chase ordered the dis- 


armament of both mine guards and strikers. He testified that 
about two thousand guns were taken up in the strike district 
and that of this number about three-fourths were taken from 
mine guards and operators. Other officers of the guard tes- 
tified that strikers gave up their arms reluctantly and undoubt- 
edly hid a large number of rifles and revolvers. 

Soon after the troops entered the field many business men 
and salaried employees who had steady positions at home 
asked to be relieved from duty. Their places were taken by 
men recruited in the strike zone, at least some of whom had 
been imported to serve as mine guards. At the Segundo Camp 
a man named Kennedy, a mine guard, appeared in the uni- 
form of a National Guardsman within a week or two of the 
time the troops were sent into the district. Kennedy had been 
one of the mine guards who assisted in shooting up the Forbes 
Tent Colony with a machine gun October 17, and was known 
to some of the strikers. The practice of enlisting mine guards 
was general in the entire strike zone and had the sanction of 
General Chase. Captains Van Cise and Garwood both testi- 
fied to the enlistment of the guards. 

While good feeling continued at points where the militia 
companies contained few, if any, mine guards, in other locali- 
ties arrival of the troops did not allay the fears of the strikers 
that their colonies were about to be attacked. Disquieting 
rumors were prevalent. There is testimony that a camp phy- 
sician at Hastings had been overheard in a saloon, a few days 
after the arrival of the State troops, making the statement 
that a force of mine guards intended coming down the Canyon 
and cleaning up the tent colonies. There was no basis for such 
a report, but the recent fighting had left much bitterness and 
agitation. Violence did not entirely cease with the arrival of 
the troops. On November 8, ten days after the troops were 
ordered out, an employee from a nearby mine got into an 
altercation with the strikers at Walsenburg. He became 
alarmed and telephoned to the mine to send him assistance. 
An automobile with three guards in addition to the chauffeur 
was sent after him. On the return trip to the mine the auto- 
mobile was ambushed by a force of armed strikers and the 


driver and two of the occupants were killed instantly. A 
fourth was so severely wounded he died a day or two later. 
On the same day a non-union miner was shot and killed by 
strikers at Aguilar. 

In spite of occasional acts of violence the strike zone re- 
mained comparatively quiet so long as Governor Ammons' 
orders against the use of troops to escort imported strike- 
breakers remained in effect. The Governor's policy in this 
respect had been vigorously opposed by the operators, and 
immediately after the calling out of the troops they began 
a campaign to coerce the Governor into withdrawing his 
original orders and directing the troops to act as escorts for 
imported strikebreakers. Letters already quoted from Mr, 
Bowers, the highest executive official of the Colorado Fuel & 
Iron Co., to Mr. Eockef eller 's office in New York, show the 
methods pursued by the large companies. On November 18, 
1913, he wrote to Mr. Rockefeller : 

I have not sent you much published matter in regard 
to the strike during the last few days, as we have been 
having a season of comparative quiet in southern Colo- 

You will be interested to know that we have been able 
to secure the co-operation of all the bankers of the city, 
who have had three or four interviews with our little 
cowboy Governor, agreeing to back the state and lend it 
all the funds necessary to maintain the militia and afford 
ample protection so that our miners could return to work, 
or give protection to men who are anxious to come up 
here from Texas, New Mexico and Kansas, together with 
some from states farther east. Besides the bankers, the 
Chamber of Commerce, the Real Estate Exchange, to- 
gether with a great many of the best business men, have 
been urging the Governor to take steps to drive these 
vicious agitators out of the state. Another mighty power 
has been rounded up in behalf of the operators by the 
gathering together of fourteen of the editors of the most 
important newspapers in Denver, Pueblo, Trinidad, Wal- 


senburg, Colorado Springs and other of the larger places 
in the state. They passed resolutions demanding that the 
Governor bring this strike to an end, as they found, upon 
most careful examination, that the real issue was the 
demand for recognition of the union, which they told the 
Governor would never be conceded by the operators as 
90 per cent of the miners themselves were non-union men, 
and therefore that issue should be dropped. 

Still the Governor hobnobs with Hayes, Lawson, Mc- 
Lennan and the rest of the gang, and either refuses or 
begs for more time to bring the strike to an end or to 
amply protect the operators in bringing in outsiders to 
take the places of those who have left the state and those 
engaged in these murderous assaults whom we refuse to 
take back under any circumstances. Yet we are making 
a little headway. 

There probably has never been such pressure brought 
to bear upon any governor of this state by the strongest 
men in it as has been brought to bear upon Governor 
Amnions. AVe have published statements of the earnings 
of the miners, which the agitators disputed and the Gov- 
ernor expressed great doubt as to its accuracy. In order 
to force acknowledgment, we requested the bankers to 
recommend three expert accountants to examine our pay- 
rolls, books, etc., which they did yesterday. The Gov- 
ernor appointed these men and they are now in our office 
checking up and their report will be published. 

While we are meeting with enormous losses we are 
making friends by the thousands in the state by giving 
to the public all of the data proving our splendid treat- 
ment of our men, not only in making it possible for them 
to earn more money than in any other bituminous coal 
section of the country, but showing the public what we 
have been doing in the way of improving the condition 
of our miners and their families. TTe have won the cor^ 
dial support of the leading papers of the state and have 
won over several men who formerly supported labor 
unions and the agitators, so we get some comfort and a 


good deal of satisfaction in having our efforts recognized, 
covering the past five years, in the upbuilding of our com- 
pany morally, commercially and financially, through the 
reports of the strong men connected with the business or- 
ganizations, bankers and others, who have been given all 
the data and information desired — which has been an eye- 
opener to most of them. 

Personally the strain has been very great on Mr. Wel- 
born, who has been the recognized leader among the oper- 
ators. He has not spared himself day or night, and but 
for his vigorous makeup, would have been unable to stand 
up under the weight loaded upon him. I mention this so 
that you may know how valuable a man he is when placed 
in the most trying circumstances that any official has ever 
been called upon to encounter in dealing with labor unions 
whose leaders, in this state, cannot be regarded as any- 
thing less than assassins. 

Personally my hope is to be blessed with enough mental 
and physical strength to be able to stand four square un- 
til we win a righteous victory. 

On December 22, 1913, he announces the success of the cam- 
paign in the following: 

If the governor had acted on September 23 as he has 
been forced to act during the past few weeks, the strike 
would have never existed ten days. 

We used every possible weapon to drive him into action, 
but he was glove-in-hand with the labor leaders and is to- 
day, but the big men of affairs have helped the operators 
in whipping the agitators, including the governor. 

Now these fellows are cursing him without regard for 
common decency, so everybody is giving him more or less 
taffy to keep him from backsliding. The enclosed is a 
sample of the resolutions being sent to him, besides any 
number of personal letters. 

By the number of miners we are getting in from the 
south and east, we will have all we can work in a week 


or so. Of course the coal trade is good for nothing after 
about February first, except the railroads and little money 
is made on their trade. 

I received a nice note from your father and in reply, 
stated that I was feeling much better, though I am having 
miserable trouble with indigestion yet, which upsets me 
all over, especially my sleep. 

I have never known such widespread approval by all 
classes of business men as we are getting in our fight for 
the ' ' open shop. ' ' 

We are paying the 4 per cent dividends for the last 
half of the current year on the preferred stock. 

I thank you for your suggestion, to take a rest, but I 
have no expectation of taking even a day off before spring 
unless I play out entirely. 

Wishing you and yours a " happy holiday season," I 

In addition to these letters, light is thrown on the methods 
used by the operators to whip Governor Amnions into line 
by the testimony of Attorney General Farrar. General Far- 
rar went to Governor Ammons and advised him that his order 
prohibiting the use of troops to escort strikebreakers could not 
be justified under the laws of the state, and that furthermore 
this order was having the effect of preventing the operation 
of the mines and was contributing to a coal shortage. In view 
of General Farrar 's subsequent activities, and in the light of 
Mr. Bowers' letters just quoted, the question arises as to 
whether or not he w r as one of the "weapons" used by the op- 
erators to drive the Governor into line. 

General Farrar 's initiative in going to the Governor w^ith 
the complaint regarding the legality of the militia's acts is 
hard to explain on any other basis. For he took no such in- 
terest in the later acts of the militia and its officers, w T hen mine 
guards were enlisted, constitutional guarantees disregarded, 
and actual murder committed by its members. He testified 
before the Commission that the legality of the acts of the 
military commission was not investigated by him, and that 


he had not even read the testimony taken at the official in- 
vestigation of the Ludlow massacre. 

In their efforts to coerce the Governor, the operators were 
aided by a peculiar situation produced by the refusal of State 
Auditor Kenehan to issue certificates of indebtedness to pay 
the salaries and expenses of the State troops. Bankers in 
Denver, Ludlow and Colorado Springs had acceded to a re- 
quest of the Governor that they advance money for the militia. 
There were constant threats that the money would not be 
paid and some bankers were afraid to honor the State cer- 
tificates. Governor Ammons therefore found himself under 
some obligation to the large financial interests of the State. 
The refusal of the State Auditor to issue certificates of in- 
debtedness was declared by the operators to have been act- 
uated by Mr. Kenehan 's sympathy for the strikers. He was 
a former union official. Auditor Kenehan insisted that his 
refusal was due to the fear that he might be held liable under 
his bond. 

Governor Ammons himself testified that he rescinded his 
order to the militia, prohibiting the importation of strike- 
breakers, after all efforts to obtain a settlement had failed, 
following the conference of November 27, and that he knew 
he had strained a point in giving the original order, but be- 
lieved it was justifiable in the effort to bring about a settle- 
ment. The change was effected by the issuance of general 
order No. 17 by General Chase from military headquarters in 
Trinidad on November 28. The effect of this order is de- 
scribed by Senator Patterson in his testimony at Denver as 
follows : 

From that time things went from bad to worse, crim- 
ination and recrimination, the operators insisting that all 
violence was committed by the miners and the miners in- 
sisting that there was ample provocation for whatever 
violence they resorted to. It seemed to me that the abso- 
lute management of the strike territory had been turned 
over to Adjutant General Chase. We heard daily of 
large numbers of men being arrested and put in jail; we 


heard that men were arrested without charge on mere 
suspicion and were kept incommunicado ; that they were 
refused the visits of friends, the right to consult with coun- 
sel or to do anything else in the way of taking charge of 
and looking after their own interest and welfare, such as 
is usually granted to the commonest of criminals. Mother 
Jones was arrested and put in jail and kept, as I under- 
stand it, absolutely inco mmu nicado for several months. 
These men who were arrested merely on suspicion were 
kept, many of them, for weeks and weeks. All of that was 
done under a decision of the Supreme Court of the State 
that arose out of the Cripple Creek strike, called the 
Mover case, the substance of which decision was that 
wherever the state troops were, — whether martial law had 
been proclaimed or not, but wherever they were for the 
purpose of restoring peace or preserving the peace, that 
there all civil law might be suspended at the will of the 
commanding officer and the military law take its place. 
This was a decision that, in my opinion, up to that time, 
had no precedent except in the Philippine Islands, and I 
think that was the only case directly in point that the 
court relied on. It was a decision against which every 
lawyer naturally rebelled and under which the will of the 
military officer in command of the troops in such localities 
was the law. 

Things of that kind are no justification for violence, 
or for the destruction of property or the taking of human 
life, but there is a tremendous amount of provocation in 
things of that kind. Here are the men whose experience 
leads them to regard themselves as a class distinguished 
from the other class, the employers. They feel that they 
are the under-dogs in all of these industrial struggles; 
they feel that simply because they are engaged in these 
struggles — the part of the mass that goes out on a strike 
— because they may express their views about the strike 
in their particular locality, they are deprived of all their 
civil rights, that they may be arrested and are arrested 
and cast into jail without any charge being filed against 


them and without any opportunity for a hearing. I think 
that decision has done more to demoralize both the social 
and industrial elements in these great industrial disturb- 
ances — in Colorado — wherever these industrial disturb- 
ances have arisen, — than everything else combined, for 
I want to say that when you subject the citizens of a great 
community to the will of a mere soldier, who has had no 
training in civil government — who has been taught and 
realizes that the will of the soldier is the law of the com- 
munity, that the rights of persons and the rights of prop- 
erty are all at his will, it is a mighty dangerous thing, 
and the soldier is next to an angel that does not abuse it, 
and grossly abuse it. I think it is a tremendously grave 
mistake in any Governor to turn over the government 
of any section of any of the states of this nation to a mil- 
itary officer, exercising his duties and powers as com- 
mander-in-chief not only to keep a strong hand on the 
military, but as well to rule the citizenry, and keep him- 
self within the limits of the law. 

While talking with Mr. Hawkins, attorney for the 
miners, I spoke to him about the violence that was going 
on down in the strike field, impressed as I was with the 
feeling that the violence could not be justified and was 
not warranted, although there might be provocation from 
the conduct of the military. He came back with this sort 
of argument, and I can understand how it is in the breast 
even of the foreign miners in this country ; he said, * - Pat- 
terson, you don 't know how these men feel ; they are ar- 
rested without charge, simply on suspicion, and they are 
cast into jail. Their fellows know how they are treated 
and they are conscious that they are guilty of no viola- 
tion of the law, but simply exercising their right to strike 
He said, "It is mighty hard, and while I know this is no 
justification, I want to tell you there is provocation and 
the law recognizes the doctrine of provocation, because 
provocation mitigates the degree of crimes against per- 
sons/' and I could not gainsay it. 

I believe one of the first things that should be done in 


the state is for the Supreme Court to recall this decision. 
I have said that a hundred times, and I must continue to 
say so. 

These abuses on the part of the militia resulted in the Colo- 
rado State Federation of Labor demanding an investigation 
following a special convention which opened December 16 and 
remained in session three days. The labor delegates called 
upon Governor Amnions to remedy the conditions complained 
of and he suggested that the convention appoint a special com- 
mittee to make a complete investigation of the conduct of the 
militia and report to him. 

The convention appointed a committee composed of John 
B. Lawson, James Kirwan, James H. Brewster, Eli M. Gross 
and Frank Miner. Four of the five members of the committee 
were union men. Mr. Brewster was a professor of law at the 
State University. 

This committee began an investigation on December 23 after 
having received a letter from Governor Amnions directing 
General Chase to assist in every way to bring out the facts. 
This inquiry lasted some three weeks during which 163 wit- 
nesses were examined, at least one-third of whom were not 
connected with the union. The committee found that the 
charges made in the special labor convention were more than 
justified by the facts. The committee attributed most of the 
abuses complained of to a wrong conception of duty enter- 
tained by General Chase. The latter said that a " state of 
war" existed which he thought justified his disregard of the 
constitution in the matter of making arrests and the deten- 
tion of prisoners without being given their day in court. In 
its report to Governor .Amnions the committee said that the 
assumption of General Chase and some of his immediate ad- 
visers that they were soldiers engaged in war "accounts for 
most of the errors of the militia — errors which range all the 
way from pitiful, puerile blunders to the grossest atrocities.' ' 
(Report of Committee, p. 6.) 

Charges that the organized militia was assisting the mine 


operators were sustained by the findings of the committee. 
It said: 

Much, however, has been done and is daily being done 
by the militia to incite striking miners to fight. Some 
such things are done merely from a lack of ordinary com- 
mon sense, but other things are being done seemingly for 
no other purpose than to cause trouble. 

The pretense that the leaders of the militia have been 
impartial is absurd. A villainous mine guard may walk 
the streets with his hand ready on his half-concealed gun 
in his coat pocket, and assault a union boy at noonday — 
as one guard did Sunday, January 4, at Walsenburg, 
while this committee was there — without interference 
from the militia, whereas a union man will be arrested 
and compelled by militiamen to work on a coal company 
ditch for two days for being drunk, when as a fact, drunk- 
enness among the militia is more common than it is among 

The military authorities, while professing intense fair- 
ness, have allowed the coal operators to import strike- 
breakers in direct violation of the state law passed in 1911 
forbidding the importation of laborers into this state by 
means of false representation or false advertisement. 

The militia have tried to persuade strikers to go back 
to work, in some instances threatening and abusing them 
at the same time; a major offers to release an arrested 
union man if he will work in the mine ; mine guards have 
given orders to militiamen as to the arrest and release of 

That the militia arrested strikers and held them for long 
periods without placing charges against them, also was found 
by the investigating oommittee. Some such cases mentioned 
in the report of the committee (pp. 11-12) are Gonzales, 53 
days; King, 19 days; Zeni, 44 days; Thiros, 22 days; Tits- 
worth, 12 days ; Phillippi, 18 days ; Zaginis, 14 days ; Markas, 
25 days ; Barrego, 5 days. 


Numerous instances were found by the committee where 
women and young girls were insulted by the militiamen : 

Unprotected women have been roused from sleep by 
militiamen attempting to enter their homes at night. 
Young girls have been grossly insulted by militiamen on 
the public street and their protesting fathers laughed at 
* * * Restaurant waitresses are so insulted by militia- 
men that they will not wait upon them. 

Instances where militiamen had taken part in robberies and 
holdups were reported by the committee, which in its report 
to the Governor said of them: 

They range from a forced loan of twenty-five cents, or 
whiskey for the captain; or a compulsory gift of three 
dollars ; or whiskey, gin, cigars and champagne ; or a ton 
of coal, to the downright robbery of $300 and other con- 
siderable sums of money, with watches and other small 
pieces of property. 

The committee recommended to Governor Amnions that 
General Chase be asked to resign or failing to do so that he be 
removed as unfitted by temperament and training for the po- 
sition he occupied; that Major Boughton, Major Townsend 
and Lieutenant E. K. Linderfelt be suspended at once and dis- 
charged from the National Guard as. soon as possible; that all 
mine guards and private detectives of the mining companies 
be discharged from the organized militia ; that the militia be 
instructed to prevent workmen being taken to the mines in 
violation of the State law prohibiting deception and that the 
law and practice of electing company officers by members of 
the company be changed at the earliest possible moment. 

As already pointed out, Professor Brewster was the only 
member of the committee not connected with organized labor, 
so the report may not have been entirely impartial, but, at 
least, some of the conclusions reached were substantiated by 

There is no doubt that the character of the militiamen de- 


teriorated as the strike progressed. In his testimony Captain 
Van Cise said that originally Company K, first infantry, was 
composed almost entirely of college men — college graduates. 
This company was stationed at Ludlow. On December 12, 
about six weeks after the troops took the field, Captain Van 
Cise testified that he had found out that ^ve of his men had 
broken into a saloon at Raymondville and had robbed it of 
about $42 worth of liquor, cigars and cigarettes. The men 
were taken before a court martial, tried and convicted. Two 
were sentenced to serve terms in the county jail and the others 
were fined and returned to duty. 

Captain Van Cise admitted that none of the men were Colo- 
rado men. Three of them were ex-regulars. One had been 
dishonorably discharged from the army and had served time 
in Leavenworth prison. Another had forged his discharge 

This statement by Captain Van Cise is significant in two 
respects. It proves that members of the organized militia 
committed burglary and also that the men were not citizens 
of the State of Colorado. Those were two of the principal 
charges brought against the National Guard by delegates to 
the special convention of the State Federation of Labor when 
the investigating committee was appointed. 

In many instances where charges of looting had been made 
against the militia, investigation proved that they were 
groundless, or that there was no evidence to show the robber- 
ies had been committed by militiamen. But a number of in- 
stances in which members of the organized militia took part 
in robberies proved the low character of some of the men who 
had been enlisted after the troops took the field. 

The Rev. James McDonald testified that the company at 
Aguilar was at first composed largely of "good Christian 
boys, attending church regularly and behaving themselves 
just splendidly, ' ' but before the troops left the field another 
element was introduced which did many things not credita- 

Mr. Brewster in his testimony told of a naturalized Italian 


named G-rogatti, who told the labor investigating committee 
that his trunk had been rifled of $300. Mr. Brewster said that 
Colonel Lee told him he had investigated that matter and that 
the man had been robbed, bnt that he could not find who had 
committed the robbery. 

Mother Jones, a general organizer for the United Mine 
Workers, more than eighty years of age, arrived in Trinidad 
from El Paso on the morning of January 4, 1914. On her 
arrival she was met by militiamen and a few hours later de- 
ported to Denver. She returned on January 12th, was again 
arrested and taken to San Rafael Hospital, where she was 
held incommunicado for nine weeks. She was then sent to 
Denver and there released. A few days later, in March, she 
boarded a sleeper for Trinidad. She was awakened at Wal- 
senburg before daylight and taken off the train by militiamen. 
They took her to an insanitary and rat-infested cell in the 
basement of the jail. She was kept there for twenty-six days 
and was then released, just before the Supreme Court was 
expected to act on a writ of habeas corpus. Mother Jones 
and attorneys for the strikers charged that she was released 
in order to prevent an opportunity by the Supreme Court to 
pass on the Moyer decision, by which the military authorities 
justified her imprisonment. Governor Amnions justified the 
arrest and imprisonment of Mother Jones on the ground that 
her speeches incited violence. She had been given to under- 
stand at all times during her imprisonment that she would be 
released if she would promise to leave the district and re- 
main away. Mother Jones refused to make such a promise, 
claiming' a constitutional right to stay in Trinidad. 

The chief legal adviser and aid of General Chase in the 
strike zone was Major Boughton, who became Judge Advo- 
cate of a Military Commission appointed by Chase to super- 
vise all cases of arrest and imprisonment of strikers. Major 
Boughton, in his testimony before this Commission, defended 
the practice of arresting without a warrant and asserted that 
it would be a mere idle parade to send the militia into the 
field without the power of arrest. Mr. Horace N. Hawkins, 


attorney for the United Mine Workers, contended on the 
other hand that "it behooves the court to hold, just as did 
the courts in the days of Lincoln, that military power cannot 
imprison men without a charge where the courts are open 
and unobstructed in the transaction of business. ' f 

Strikers and union officials charge that many of the 172 pris- 
oners w T hose cases were in the hands of the Military Commis- 
sion were mistreated and even tortured by officers and en- 
listed men. A reputable officer of the National Guard told an 
agent of this Commission that a brother officer detailed to 
service on the Military Commission had intimated to him that 
third degree methods were used. When the officer in ques- 
tion was called to the stand by this Commission in Denver he 
denied any knowledge of such practices. That testimony by 
National Guard officers was colored by a feeling of loyalty 
toward brother officers was plainly indicated by the discrep- 
ancy between their public testimony and their statements to 
an agent of this Commission. 

The economic dependence of the Colorado National Guard 
on the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. and other operators has been 
fully established. President Welborn of the Colorado Fuel 
& Iron Co. testified that his company had paid militiamen 
from $75,000 to $80,000 on certificates of indebtedness bear- 
ing interest and collectable from the State. Troops were 
quartered in Company buildings and furnished with supplies 
by Company stores in return for these certificates. 

During February and March a Congressional Committee 
held hearings at Trinidad and Denver. No serious disorder 
occurred during this period, but there were frequent petty 
clashes between strikers and militiamen and mutual bitter- 
ness and hatred grew ever more intense. 

When the Congressional Committee left Colorado the strike 
zone was quiet and Governor Amnions decided that most of 
the troops could be safely withdrawn. The order accord- 
ingly was issued. It was decided to leave thirty-five men of 
Company "B" at Ludlow and Berwind Canyon, just above 
Ludlow Station. These men were nominally in command of 


Major Hamrock, but the dominating officer was Lieutenant 
Linderf elt. Of Company " B' • a committee of National Guard 
officers later said: 

From the beginning of the campaign this militia or- 
ganization and the strikers in the Colony were in frequent 
petty conflicts with one another. They grew to dislike 
each other, to worry, harass and annoy one another. Both 
sides fed the flame of increasing enmity. They provoked 
each other on every possible occasion. Dislike grew into 
hatred and provocation into threats. From threats by 
each against the others' lives the strikers have come to 
fear and hate this "B" Company, and "B" Company has 
come to partake of the fear of the workmen and the 
hatred of the mine guards toward the Colonists. 

Upon the withdrawal of the troops from the field it 
was felt necessary to leave one unit at Ludlow between 
the largest colony of strikers on one side and the richest 
mines and the most populous camps on the other. Com- 
pany "B" was selected for that service, because, albeit 
hated by the strikers, it was feared and respected by 

Company "B", originally made up of clerks and business 
and professional men in Denver, had changed radically in 
character prior to the Ludlow tragedy. On April 20th it con- 
sisted of mine guards, professional soldiers and adventurers 
who had chosen to remain on strike duty when the rest of the 
State force had been withdrawn. Many were transferred to 
Company "B" as volunteers when the other troops left. 

Lieutenant Linderf elt who was the actual, although not the 
nominal, commanding officer was the object of an intenser 
hatred from the strikers than any other man in the field. 
They had complained against him during the hearings of the 
Congressional Committee and there had been bad blood be- 
tween him and Louis Tikas, leader of the Greek strikers in 
the Tent Colony. It will be remembered that he had entered 
the field prior to the calling out of the militia, and as deputy 


sheriff had been in charge of a machine gun, imported by the 
Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency and turned over by the 
Agency to the operators. Witnesses before the Congressional 
Committee clearly established the belief of the strikers that 
he was tactless, domineering and brutal. He was known 
among the inhabitants of the Ludlow Tent Colony as " Jesus 
Christ", because he is alleged to have told a striker's wife 
that he was Jesus Christ around there and must be obeyed. 
Linderfelt had an intense hatred for the strikers and espe- 
cially for the Greeks and southern Europeans who predomi- 
nated in the Tent Colony at Ludlow. In spite of all this he 
seems to have been considered a particularly valuable officer 
for the work that the State had in hand. 

At about the same time that Company "B" was left in 
charge at Ludlow, officers of the National Guard and the 
mine owners cooperated in organizing a new troop of cavalry 
called Troop "A". It was sworn in during the week preced- 
ing April 20th and was placed in command of Captain Edwin 
Carson. Carson had been an enlisted man in the British Army, 
an acrobat performing in vaudeville, and an athletic instructor 
in the Denver Club. Although the legislative committee, quoted 
by General Chase in his testimony before this Commission, 
testified that only eleven mine guards were members of this 
troop, Captain Carson himself, in a conversation with the 
Commission's investigator, estimated the number of mine 
guards as "not more than thirty". "The others", said Car- 
son, "were pit bosses, mine superintendents, mine clerks and 
the like." These men lived and worked in the mines near 
Trinidad and Ludlow, ready to respond to a call at any time. 
They were to be paid by the mine operators except when ac- 
tually serving as State militia. 

That Troop "A" was organized with the knowledge of the 
executive officials of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. is proved 
by the following extract from a letter written by Mr. Bowers 
to Mr. Rockefeller on April 18, 1914: 

Another favorable feature is the organization of a 
military company of one hundred volunteers at Trinidad 


the present week. They are to be armed by the State and 
drilled by military officials. Another squad is being or- 
ganized at Walsenburg. These independent militiamen 
will be subject to orders of the sheriff of the county. As 
these volunteers will draw no pay from the State, this 
movement has the support of the Governor and other 
men in authority. 

Thus, by April 20th the Colorado National Guard no longer 
offered even a pretense of fairness or impartiality, and its 
units in the field had degenerated into a force of professional 
gunmen and adventurers who were economically dependent on 
and subservient to the will of the coal operators. This force 
was dominated by an officer whose intense hatred for the 
strikers had been demonstrated, and who did not lack the 
courage and the belligerent spirit required to provoke 4ios- 
tilities. Although twelve hundred men, women and children 
remained at the Ludlow Tent Colony and Linderfelt's imme- 
diate force consisted of not more than thirty-five men, the 
militiamen were equipped with machine guns and high pow- 
ered repeating rifles and could count on speedy reenforce- 
ment by the members of Troop "A", which numbered about 
one hundred. The Ludlow Colony had been repeatedly 
searched during the preceding weeks for arms and ammuni- 
tion, and Major Boughton's testimony before this Commis- 
sion indicates that Linderfelt believed the strikers to be un- 

Mrs. Helen Ring Robinson, a member of the Colorado State 
Senate and a distinguished citizen of the State, testified that 
while visiting the strike zone just before the Ludlow affair she 
heard reports and threats that the Ludlow Colony was to be 
wiped out. Similar testimony was given at the Coroner's 
inquest by Miss Susan Hollearin, postmistress and school 
teacher at Ludlow. 

On April 20th militiamen destroyed the Ludlow Tent Col- 
ony, killing five men and one boy with rifle and machine gun 
fire and firing the tents with a torch. 


Eleven children and two women of the colony who had 
taken refuge in a hole under one of the tents were burned to 
death or suffocated after the tents had been fired. During the 
firing of the tents, the militiamen became an uncontrolled mob 
and looted the tents of everything that appealed to their fancy 
or cupidity. 

Hundreds of women and children were driven terror strick- 
en into the hills or to shelter at near-by ranch houses. Others 
huddled for twelve hours in pits underneath their tents or in 
other places of shelter, while bullets from rifles and machine 
guns whistled overhead and kept them in constant terror. 

The militiamen lost one man. He was shot through the 
neck early in the attack. 

Three of the strikers killed at Ludlow were shot while 
under the guard of armed militiamen who had taken them pris- 
oners. They included Louis Tikas, a leader of the Greek 
strikers, a man of high intelligence who had done his utmost 
that morning to maintain peace and prevent the attack and 
who had remained in or near the tent colony throughout the 
day to look after the women and children. Tikas was first 
seriously or mortally wounded by a blow on the head from 
the stock of a Springfield rifle in the hands of Lieutenant K. 
E. Linderfelt of the Colorado National Guard, and then shot 
three times in the back by militiamen and mine guards. 

Accounts vary as to who fired the first shot on the morning 
of the tragedy, but it is established that the first offensive 
movement was the occupation of a hill near the tent colony by 
militiamen in full view of the strikers, the planting of a ma- 
chine gun there, and the exploding of two dynamite bombs by 
the militia. These bombs had been made by Linderfelt to 
be used as signals to call the militia and mine guards from 
near-by mines and camps, but the strikers did not know 
their purpose. They streamed out of the colony, and about 
sixty who had rifles took up a position in a railroad cut. 
Many of the women and children ran from the colony in an- 
other direction and took shelter in ranch houses or the open 
hill country before the destruction began. 


The investigating committee of national guard officers 
charged the strikers with deliberate intent to attack the militia 
and with starting the fight. Undoubtedly the excitable Greeks 
hastened the attack by seizing their rifles and streaming from 
the colony when they saw the militiamen advancing and plant- 
ing a machine gun; but from the testimony of witnesses, 
the known attitude of the militia and from the events that 
followed, it is reasonable to suspect that the militia was not 
averse to seizing upon the slightest pretext to start their work 
of destruction. 

Fifteen or twenty of the women and children who were 
caught in the tent colony when the firing began escaped during 
the morning to a pump house near the tents. There they hid 
in a deep well, while bullets whistled overhead. A ladder 
extended down the side of the well to a landing where the 
terror-stricken refugees remained huddled. At 7 o'clock in 
the evening, a freight train pulled into the station between the 
pump house and the soldiers, who were directing a heavy 
fire into the tent colony. The women and children took ad- 
vantage of the shelter its steel coke cars afforded to climb 
from the well and make a dash for shelter in an arroyo. The 
conductor and brakeman of the freight train testified at the 
inquest that they saw about fifteen women and children, cry- 
ing and whimpering, scurrying along a fence near the rail- 
road track. The trainmen testified that twelve militiamen 
covered the engineer with revolvers and ordered him to pull 
his train out and do it "damn quick," or they would shoot 
him. The engineer obeyed, although he had orders to take a 
side track at Ludlow in order to let a passenger train pass. 

After the women and children had escaped from the pump 
house, militiamen took possession of it and there captured 
Louis Tikas, leader of the Greek strikers. According to the 
testimony of women who remained in the tent colony, Tikas 
with James Fyler, Secretary Treasurer of the Union, re- 
mained in the colony all day looking after the many women 
and children who had been unable to escape. Affidavits from 
women survivors attached hereto agree that he busied himself 


in saving women and children from the flames after the tents 
were set on fire, and took refuge in the pump house only when 
it was too late to be of further service. Fyler was captured 
near the colony a few minutes after the capture of Tikas. He 
was shot to death a short time later. 

Tikas was taken before Lientenant Linderfelt. About Lin- 
derfelt at the time stood fifty or seventy-five militiamen, most 
of them members of Troop "A" and acting in their double 
capacity as militiamen and mine guards. Hot words ensued, 
and although Tikas was absolutely defenseless, Linderfelt 
grasped his Springfield rifle by the barrel and broke the stock 
over Tikas' head. Linderfelt then strode away, and a few 
moments later there was a fusillade of shots. R. J. McDonald, 
stenographer for the militia officers, testified at the inquest 
that Linderfelt did not look around when he heard the shots. 
Tikas was shot three times in the back. The doctors who 
testified at the inquest said that he had been literally "shot 
to pieces inside. ' ' 

Dr. Ben Beshoar, one of the physicians who examined Tikas ' 
body, testified at the inquest as follows : 

Q. And Louis Tikas came to his death by a gun shot 
wound f 

A. I am not sure whether or not it was a gun shot 
wound that caused his death. 

Q. Just tell why. 

A. Well, from the amount of blood on his clothes and 
on his head, I would say that he was struck a blow on 
the head before the gun shot wounds. 

Q. Could you judge from the blow, whether he was 
standing up or lying down when it was dealt? 

A. I would judge that he was lying down or falling 

Q. Did all these bullets enter from the rear? 

A. Yes, sir, from the rear. The point of entrance was 
lower than the point of exit. There was no deflection of 
the bullets. They practically all went straight. 


When questioned as to Tikas' death, Linderfelt dismissed 
the subject by saying that there had been bitter feeling be- 
tween them for a long time. He said he did not know who shot 
Tikas. Linderfelt then volunteered a tribute to Tikas' cool- 
ness and judgment. Accounts agree that Tikas was highly in- 
telligent, with an engaging personality and an unusual power 
of leadership which he exercised over the Greeks in the col- 
ony. Major P. J. Hamrock, in command of the militia at 
Ludlow, has testified that Tikas that morning tried in good 
faith to prevent trouble. 

Fyler and an unknown striker were shot while disarmed 
and prisoners at the mercy of the militiamen. The unknown 
striker thus killed may have been John Bartoloti, whose wife 
and children were among the refugees who had earlier es- 
caped from the well in the pump house. Mrs. Bartoloti in an 
affidavit says : 

I had six children in the well with me. My husband 
was killed there ; he was coming to see me and take care 
of me and the children, and he was shot in the back. He 
was crying all day for me and the children. 

The tents were set afire by militiamen on orders from their 
officers, according to apparently unbiased testimony. This is 
denied by the officers, who, however, admit that a fire which 
they say started accidentally was deliberately spread by their 
men. Coal oil was first poured on the canvas. As the tents 
burned, they were looted by a mob of militiamen who had lost 
all semblance of discipline. They took jewelry, clothing, bed- 
ding, tools, bicycles, and, according to several witnesses, 

Scores of women and children who had been unable to make 
their escape under the rain of rifle and machine gun fire earlier 
in the day ran screaming from the burning tents or crawled 
from the cellars or holes beneath them. Many of these women 
were soon to become mothers. Mrs. Alcarita Pedregon took 
refuge with her children in the hole where eleven children and 
two women were suffocated by smoke. She testified that she 


saw a militiaman set fire to the tent. Mrs. Pedregon was 
compelled to remain in the hole while she saw two of her chil- 
dren and eleven others slowly die. 

Many of the women and children were assisted out of the 
holes and saved from death in the flames by the officers who di- 
rected the firing of the tents. Captain Carson and Lieutenant 
Linderfelt are entitled to whatever credit is due for participa- 
tion in the rescuing of all the women and children save thir- 
teen, who perished of suffocation and burns in the hole where 
they had taken refuge from the rain of lead. 

Among the families remaining in the colony was that of 
William Snyder. Snyder himself had stayed with his family. 
During the afternoon his son, Frank, aged 11, had been shot 
in the head and almost instantly killed as he sat in his father 's 

Having burned and looted the tent colony and killed or 
driven off its inhabitants, the militiamen on the following day 
maintained a close watch in all directions and fired at all 
persons who showed themselves on the roads or nearby fields 
and hillsides. Many of the women and children had taken 
refuge at the ranch house of Frank Bayes and his family, 
three-quarters of a mile northeast of the colony. Bayes was 
agent for an oil company and a kindly, respected citizen of 
the community. He sheltered the terror-stricken women and 
children as best he could, but insisted that none of the men 
should remain in or about the ranch house, fearing their pres- 
ence would attract the fire of the militia. On Tuesday morn- 
ing, the militiamen started firing at the Bayes house and at 
least six bullets struck it. A mule near the house was shot 
through the hip, and a bullet passed just above the bed of two 
of Mr. Bayes ' children. On Tuesday Mr. Bayes took his fam- 
ily and the refugees to safer quarters at a ranch house in 
the valley. He returned on Wednesday. Testifying at the 
coroner's inquest, he said: 

I found everything in the house topsy turvy. There was 
seventy-five barrels of water standing in the tank and they 
drained it. Took the plug out underneath, in order to do 


away with the water. They went in the house and de- 
stroyed the furniture. They even stole a violin, and there 
was a bucket of 125 eggs on the table, and they were taken, 
and preserves scattered all over. There was some can- 
celed Continental Oil Company checks, and $19.50 cash 
sales, and that was gone. These canceled checks were 
scattered all over the room. They left me a note on the 
back of one of the checks saying: "This is to be your 
pay for harboring the Union. Cut it out, or we will call 
again." (Signed) B. F. and C. N. G. 

District Attorney. Colorado National Guard and Bald- 

Mr. Bayes. That's the way I took it. I also found this 
soldier 's button and this belt, and this cartridge. 

Many pages could be filled with the stories of horror, hard- 
ship and bereavement told by survivors of the tent colony. 
Women crazed by fear and the loss of their children wandered 
about the hills all night, not knowing where to turn, and frantic 
with anxiety over the fate of their husbands and children. 
Others huddled in ditches, gulches and similar shelters, listen- 
ing to the scream of bullets overhead. The colony had housed 
about 1,200 souls, of whom a great majority were women and 

The assassination of Tikas and the death of thirteen women 
and children at Ludlow precipitated an armed and open re- 
bellion against the authority of the State as represented by the 
militia. This rebellion constituted perhaps one of the nearest 
approaches to civil war and revolution ever known in this coun- 
try in connection with an industrial conflict. 

Strikers in the Trinidad and Walsenburg Districts of South- 
ern Colorado, and in the Canyon City and Louisville Districts, 
armed themselves and swarmed over the hills, bent on aveng- 
ing the death of their Ludlow comrades. 

Two days after the Ludlow tragedy, on Wednesday, April 
22, the responsible leaders of organized labor in Colorado tele- 
graphed to President Wilson, notifying him that they had sent 


an appeal to every labor organization in Colorado urging 
them to gather arms and ammunition and organize themselves 
into companies. 

The call to arms and the telegram to the President were 
signed by John E. Lawson, ranking official of the United Mine 
Workers of America in the district and a member of its execu- 
tive board; and John McLennan, President of the State Fed- 
eration of Labor. 

In Denver the union headquarters and attorneys were be- 
sieged by union men having no connection with the Mine 
Workers who offered to arm themselves and form companies. 

At Trinidad the Mayor left the city, and arms and am- 
munition were distributed to the strikers without concealment 
at the union headquarters. A military camp of strikers was 
established on a mesa near the town, and the union officials as- 
sumed responsibility for maintaining order in the town. 

At Ludlow the militiamen who had participated in the de- 
struction of the tent colony were surrounded by armed strik- 
ers, and remained there helpless to participate in the fighting 
that followed. 

By Wednesday, April 22, two days after the Ludlow killings, 
armed and enraged strikers were in possession of the field 
from Rouse, twelve miles south of Walsenburg, to Hastings 
and Delagua, southwest of Ludlow. Within this territory of 
eighteen miles north and south by four or five miles east 
and west were situated many mines manned by superin- 
tendents, foremen, mine guards and strikebreakers. Inflamed 
by what they considered the wanton slaughter of their women, 
children and comrades, the miners attacked mine after mine, 
driving off or killing the guards and setting fire to the build- 
ings. At the Empire mine of the Southwestern Fuel Com- 
pany near Aguilar the President of the company, J. W. Siple, 
with twenty men and eight women and children, took refuge 
in the mine stope after the shaft house and buildings had been 
burned and dynamited. The strikers besieged them for two 
days, Siple having declined to surrender on promise of safe 
conduct. The party was rescued on the arrival of fresh 


militiamen from Denver under Adjutant General Chase on 
Friday afternoon. 

Mine buildings were burned by the strikers at the South- 
western, Hastings, Delagua, Empire, Green Canyon, Royal 
and Broadhead mines. 

On Thursday, 362 national guardsmen answered General 
Chase's call and left Denver for the strike zone. Up to this 
time the only state troops in the field consisted of Troop "A" 
of Trinidad and Segundo and Company "B" of Denver, 
mounted, which had been left at Ludlow when the other com- 
panies were withdrawn. Both Troop i ' A ' ' and Company ' ' B ' ' 
had remained at Ludlow, surrounded by strikers, since the 
destruction of the tent colony. 

By Friday General Chase had 650 State troops in the field. 
They made no attempt to go further south toward Trinidad 
than Ludlow, but occupied the district between Walsenburg 
and Ludlow along the railroad. 

On Saturday strikers attacked the Chandler mine near Can- 
yon City, on the other side of a range of foot hills and many 
miles from any point where disorder had previously oc- 
curred. The mine was captured Sunday afternoon and some 
of the buildings were burned. 

On Monday night strikers attacked the Hecla mine at Louis- 
ville, northwest of Denver, and about 250 miles north of Trini- 
dad. They also surrounded the Vulcan mine at Lafayette, a 
camp near Louisville in the northern field. 

Fighting in the southern field had been stopped on Friday 
as the result of a truce arranged by Horace N. Hawkins of 
Denver, attorney for the Mine "Workers, and the State authori- 
ties. After the attacks at Canon City and Louisville, General 
Chase was quoted as declaring that the truce had been violated 
and no longer existed. This was the signal for fresh out- 
breaks in the southern field. On Monday, April 27, strikers at- 
tacked the McNally mine of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Com- 
pany near Walsenburg. Miss Maggie Gregory, a cousin of 
the Superintendent, was hit in the arm by a bullet a she was 
escaping in a buggy toward Walsenburg. Militiamen who had 


arrived from Denver on the previous Friday engaged the 
strikers, and fighting continued for forty-eight hours over a 
wide area. On Wednesday Major P. P. Lester, of Walsen- 
burg, company surgeon at the mines and surgeon for the Na- 
tional Guard, was killed by a bullet from the strikers' lines. 
His fellow guardsmen declared that Major Lester wore a red 
cross badge and was bandaging the wound of a militiaman 
when he was shot. District Attorney Hendricks of Las Ani- 
mas and Huerfano Counties told the Commission's investi- 
gator that he had gone to Walsenburg and had investigated 
Major Lester's death, and that it was his belief that the sur- 
geon was participating in the battle as a combatant. The 
fighting at Walsenburg ended in the calling of a second truce 
which was arranged at Denver between union officials and at- 
torneys and State officials. 

On Wednesday morning, or late in the preceding night, a 
party of about 200 armed strikers left the strikers' military 
colony near Trinidad and marched over the hills to Forbes, 
a mining camp which lies at the bottom of a canyon sur- 
rounded by steep hills. Most of the party were Greeks. 
Earlier in the strike, before the visit of the Congressional 
Committee, the strikers ' tent colony at Forbes, situated on 
ground leased by them, had been twice destroyed by militia- 
men and mine guards, and on one occasion it had been swept 
by machine gun fire and a striker killed and a boy had been 
shot nine times through the legs. Bent on revenge for this 
earlier attack and for the killings at Ludlow, the strikers 
took up positions on the hills surrounding the mine buildings, 
and at daybreak poured a deadly fire into the camp. Nine 
mine guards and strikebreakers were shot to death and one 
striker was killed. The strikers fired the mine buildings, in- 
cluding a barn in which were thirty mules, and then withdrew 
to their camp near Trinidad. 

Twenty-four hours later the federal troops arrived and all 
fighting ceased. 

During the ten days of fighting at least fifty persons had 
lost their lives, including the twenty-one killed at Ludlow. 


From 700 to 1,000 armed strikers had been in absolute con- 
trol of large areas of territory, and had waged open warfare 
against mine guards, militia and mine employees. Kespon- 
sible union officials planned the movements of their men, set 
about collecting and distributing arms and ammunition, and 
openly justified their acts. Each side reported its casualties 
after each skirmish and made claims as to the number of men 
killed and wounded on the opposing side. Newspapers, 
friendly to one side or the other, charged with apparent satis- 
faction that the losses of the other side had been greater than 
were admitted. 

In Denver every newspaper in the city denounced the militia 
for what was termed "the Ludlow massacre", and the re- 
ports of every newspaper showed varying degrees of sym- 
pathy with the strikers. Former United States Senator Pat- 
terson had declared at a meeting of the Chamber of Com- 
merce in Denver on Friday, April 24, that he believed nine out 
of ten women in the city believed the Ludlow affair to have 
been a deliberate slaughter of women and children by the 
national guards. Senator Patterson also said : 

It has been brought home to me in many ways that 
the State and Denver stand on the brink of a volcano, 
The chasm is not only wide, but it is widening. Denver 
is divided into two hostile camps, arising out of the trage- 
dies in the State the past week, and no one can tell, unless 
wisdom and moderation control both sides, what the out- 
come may be. 

Horace N. Hawkins, of Denver, Attorney for the United 
Mine Workers, told the Commission's investigator that 
trade union members and officials had called him on the tele- 
phone offering to raise an army of 10,000 volunteers. Mr. 
Hawkins used his utmost endeavor to arrange a truce as soon 
as the strikers began their reprisals, and was severely criti- 
cised by some of the union men because he succeeded in bring- 
ing about a temporary cessation of hostilities. 

It seems of vast importance that it should be understood 


how nearly the situation in Colorado approached a condition 
of absolute prostration of government and of actual revolu- 
tion. This is apparent not so much in the record of battles* 
and skirmishes fought and lives lost, as in the evidences given 
above of the state of public feeling. It was apparent in the 
frankness with which strike leaders admitted that they were 
gathering and distributing arms, in the open admissions made 
by many strikers that they or others whom they named had 
taken part in one or other of the various attacks, and in the 
refusal of the District Attorney of Las Animas County to take 
official notice of the killings which followed Ludlow, that the 
rules of "civilized warfare" formed the only criterion for pub- 
lic criticism of acts on either side during this period. 

Enlightened public sentiment existing in Denver and other 
Colorado communities found itself helpless of effective ex- 
pression. That expression, of course, should have come 
through the State. This leads to the direct causes of the 
failure of government and of all the horrors that resulted 
from it. Their consideration is vitally important because 
there is no guarantee that the same cause may not operate 
again in Colorado or other States, and that some day they may 
produce a situation far more serious even than that under 

The State of Colorado through its military arm was ren- 
dered helpless to maintain law and order because that mili- 
tary arm had acted, not as an agent of the commonwealth, 
but as an agent of one of the parties in interest, as an agent, 
that is, of the coal operators, as against the strikers.. 

. Lieutenant Linderfelt and others who participated in the 
Ludlow massacre were tried by a courtmartial of their brother 
officers of the Colorado National Guard. Linderfelt was 
found guilty of striking the late Louis Tikas with the stock 
of his Springfield rifle, this being the blow that one of the 
doctors who testified at the inquest said might have caused 
death, even if Tikas' body had not been riddled with bullets by 
men in Linderfelt 's command. The courtmartial assessed as 
punishment a trifling demotion in rank. 


The Declaration of Independence named among the acts of 
King George justifying rebellion the following: 

"For quartering large bodies of armed troops among 

"For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punish- 
ment for any murders which they should do on the in- 
habitants of these states." 

Only those who hope and pray for bloody revolution can 
contemplate the record of the Colorado National Guard and 
fail to see the need of measures that will make this branch 
of the government as representative of the people and as sub- 
servient to the people's will as other governmental agencies. 
Today there is ample evidence in Colorado in support of the 
claims of radical agitators that the national guard is an in- 
strument of suppression maintained for the purpose of intimi- 
dating and crushing workmen who go on strike in an effort to 
improve the conditions of life for themselves, their women and 
their children, and to secure for themselves a larger measure 
of freedom from arbitrary power. 



The Ultimate Responsibility. 

At certain times during the strike, the operators in their 
public utterances took great pains to point out that a large 
number of mining companies joined in every step taken by the 
operators ' committee, and that the policies of the owners were 
not those of the Rockefeller Company, or even of the three 
largest companies, but of a large number of mine owners all 
of whom had arrived independently at the' same conclusion re- 
garding the proper course to pursue. 

It is important to examine this claim with a view to decid- 
ing whether the policies of the operators grew out of condi- 
tions peculiar to Colorado or were influenced and controlled 
by the dominant will and interest of a group whose activities 
are nation-wide and typical of corporation controlled indus- 

The evidence sIioavs that the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company 
played a master hand in determining the policy of the oper- 
ators, and in maintaining that policy after it was announced. 
This Company mined from thirty-five to forty per cent of the 
coal produced in Colorado and employed nearly three times 
as many miners as the second largest company. For more 
than ten years its largest stockholder had been John D. Rocke- 
feller, and since 1907 a personal representative of Mr. Rocke- 
feller had been in active charge of its management as chairman 
of the board of directors, vice-president and treasurer. This 
official was Mr. L. M. Bowers, a man sixty-nine years of age, 
who had been employed by Mr. Rockefeller to manage various 
industries for twenty years, and whose deep seated opposition 
and animosity to labor unions and the practice of collective 
bargaining must have been well known to his employer when 
he was sent to Colorado to represent the Rockefeller interest. 

From first to last Mr. Bowers, as shown by his letters to 
Mr. Rockefeller's office, saw nothing in the struggle of the 
miners for the right to organize for collective bargaining ex- 


cept a plot by " socialists/ ' "anarchists," and "political 
demagogues" to wrest the control of the mines from their 
owners. His letters to Mr. Rockefeller, Jr., early in the strike 
show him to have been bitter and prejudiced in the extreme, 
with an adherence to the individualistic economic doctrines of 
a century ago that was almost grotesque in its intensity. 

Back of Mr. Bowers and President Welborn in determining 
and maintaining the operators' policies stood John D. Rocke- 
feller, Jr., whose enthusiastic approval and indorsement of 
these policies gave incalculable moral and material support 
both to his own subordinates and to the executive officials of 
other companies. Mr. Rockefeller's indorsement and approval 
was accorded promptly at the beginning of the strike in the 
form of personal letters to Mr. Bowers, which were shown not 
only to the executive officers of the Company but to the heads 
of other companies as well. It is greatly to be doubted if 
the Colorado operators could have maintained their unyield- 
ing and defiant attitude of opposition to the enlightened public 
opinion of the entire nation had they not been bulwarked by 
the material and moral power wielded by the possessor of the 
hugest private fortune in the world. 

Mr. Rockefeller's power to direct the policies of his own 
company is admitted and needs no discussion. But it is al- 
leged that the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company was but one 
of many, and by itself unable to control the situation. 

Examination of the evidence shows that Mr. Rockefeller and 
his agents admitted the company's leadership in the counsels 
of the operators during the first seven months of the strike. 

-It was not until the horror of the Ludlow massacre had 
shocked and outraged the nation and brought upon its per- 
petrators the wrath and loathing of every decent citizen that 
Mr. Rockefeller, for the first time, makes the point that his 
company was but one of many, and that Mr. Bowers in Denver, 
his supreme self-complacency staggered for the minute, writes 
his employer: 

"We have been given altogether too prominent a place in 
this trouble." 


Mr. Bowers used this phrase five days after the Ludlow 
massacre. The same sudden desire to minimize his part in the 
affair, apparently animated Mr. Rockefeller in New York at 
about the same time. Telegraphing to Mr. Bowers on April 
26, while the tide of the nation's anger still rose about him, 
Mr. Rockefeller asked: 

How many coal companies are involved in the strike? 
what proportion of their normal total output does your 
company represent? Answer ten West Fifty-fourth 

Contrast Mr. Bowers' modesty after Ludlow with his ear]y 
boastfulness. On November 18 he wrote Mr. Rockefeller: 

Personally the strain has been very great on Mr. Wel- 
born, who has been the recognized leader among the oper- 

And on April 7, 1914, only thirteen days before Ludlow, the 
conspicuous part played by Mr. Rockefeller as the dominant 
figure in the strike situation had filled Mr. Bowers with 
"boundless delight." He expressed it in the following letter: 

Binghamton, N. Y., April 7, 1914. 
Dear Mr. Rockefeller : 

You have rendered a service for the entire country in 
your testimony before the Congressional Committee, that 
cannot be over estimated for its value just at this period 
in our industrial history : As the writer anticipated, these 
biased political wire pullers utterly failed in their attempt 
to trip you and every word you said simply brought out 
clearer and clearer your genuine American loyalty to 
stand against all comers, to protect every man who 
seeks employment in the enterprise in which you have a 
commanding interest in the enjoyment under the stars 
and stripes, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

I believe the hours you gave to the committee and the 
position you so ruggedly maintained against the assaults 
of Dr. Foster, will do more for the cause of the millions 


of laboring men, than all the efforts of social reformers 
in as many years. 

It will set thousands of faltering employers to thinking 
and inspire confidence and spur them to activity in oppos- 
ing the schemes of political, social and religious dema- 
gogues, who are in the clutches of the labor union leaders, 
whose aim is to shut the open shops. 

I cannot put into words my satisfaction, I will say 
boundless delight with your magnificent and unshaken 
stand for principle, whatever the cost may be. Now for 
an aggressive warfare to 1916 and beyond for the open 

Sincerely yours, 

L. M. Bowees. 

One week before the strike began Mr. Rockefeller's per- 
sonal attorney in New York, Mr. Starr J. Murphy, was told 
by Mr. Ethelbert Stewart, a mediator from the United States 
Department of Labor, that "he was also informed that the 
other operators in Colorado had decided to follow the lead of 
the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co." Reporting this conversation 
to Mr. Bowers, Mr. Murphy enters no denial or comment, and 
in a long reply, in which he comments on Mr. Stewart's visit, 
Mr. Bowers does not refute Mr. Stewart's statement, al- 
though he discusses the situation in Colorado at length. 

Reference must be made to the copies of letters between Mr. 
Rockefeller and executive officials of the company, which ac- 
company this report, for a full understanding of the extent 
of Mr. Rockefeller's information and responsibility as to the 
progress of the strike and the methods used to break it. 
While Mr. Rockefeller may have fully believed that conditions 
in the Colorado mines had been greatly improved since Mr. 
Bowers was sent there, and were as good or better than condi- 
tions prevailing in other fields, even a cursory reading of Mr. 
Bowers' letter should have revealed to his employer that here 
was a man temperamentally and intellectually incapable of 
dealing wisely and fairly with a strike involving the vital 
rights and interests of thousands of employees and their fam- 


ilies, and seriously menacing the peace and well being of a 
state. Mr. Bowers' letters alone should have been sufficient 
to convince Mr. Eockefeller that the writer was irritable, arbi- 
trary and obstinate to an exceptional degree; that he was a 
survival of the dark age of theory and practice regarding in- 
dustrial relations ; that he was ignorant of the character and 
records of the men whom he opposed, and that finally his at- 
titude toward the government of the state and nation was con- 
temptuous and defiant. 

Nor could Mr. Rockefeller be acquitted even had Mr. Bow- 
ers concealed these qualities in his correspondence with 26 
Broadway. From the day, seven days before the strike began, 
when he avoided an interview sought by a mediator of the 
federal government, Mr. Rockefeller refused to enter upon 
any independent investigation in order to determine for him- 
self the true situation in Colorado, before he threw all the 
enormous power of his personal support behind the men who 
had set themselves to the task of crushing the revolt of 8,000 
miners. Yet the men whose unsupported word he accepted 
were almost strangers to him. They were men who could 
not have admitted the grievances complained of without ad- 
mitting themselves guilty of crimes against society. But their 
denial was all that Mr. Rockefeller required before projecting 
himself into the situation as a decisive factor. 

During all the seven tragic and bitter months that preceded 
Ludlow, Mr. Rockefeller wrote letter after letter In enthusi- 
astic praise of men whose acts during this period had pre- 
cipitated a reign of terror and bloodshed. It was only when 
the Ludlow massacre filled the press of the nation with edi- 
torial denunciation, when mourners in black silently paraded 
in front of his New York office, when cartoons in the conserva- 
tive press pilloried him and his father before an angry public, 
that at last complacency gives way to concern in his letters 
and telegrams to Denver. Stung to self-defense, he issued a 
statement in New York pointing out that his company had 
voluntarily granted improvements and concessions demanded 
by the strikers. Witness the surprise of 26 Broadway when 
a writer in the New York Evening Post pointed out that all 



of these concessions except one had been required by laws of 
Colorado for Years : 

May 7, 1914. 
Dear Mr. Bowers : 

In the statement which Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 
gave out to the press, he said that the eight-hour day, 
serai-monthly pay, right to use check-weighmen, freedom 
to deal at the company stores or not, and the increase of 
wages, were all made by the company voluntarily. The 
statement is now made by some of his critics that all these 
points, except the increase in wages, were covered by law, 
and that the company did not make the concessions until 
statutes were passed requiring them. He asks me, on his 
behalf, to find out what are the facts in this connection, 
and would be obliged if you could inform us when the 
statutes went into effect, and when the various matters 
above mentioned were granted to our workmen, and what, 
if any, are the relations between the granting of them and 
the statutes. 

Sincerely yours, 

Starr J. Murphy. 

From the inception of the strike, the most conspicuous and 
most frequently reiterated allegation of the strikers was that 
their demands were already requirements of the Colorado 
statutes. Yet to Mr. Rockefeller, seven months later, this 
comes as a surprise, when pointed out by a writer to The Post. 
Nothing could better show the depth of his indifference as to 
the merits of the controversy, in contrast with his keen inter- 
est in and support of efforts to defeat the strike. 

That Mr. Rockefeller's support of his Colorado officials be- 
came a factor of tremendous importance, if not a decisive 
factor, in preventing a peaceful settlement is made clear by 
a study of the testimony and correspondence. 

On May 13, 1913, Mr. Bowers wrote to Mr. Rockefeller's 
secretary: "It is well known that the Rockefeller interests 
are managing the affairs of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co." 
Business men, ministers, college professors, editors, and the 


general public knew that Mr. Bowers and Mr. Welborn repre- 
sented the greatest financial interest in the world. They re- 
presented this interest in a comparatively new state, where de- 
pendence on * eastern capital' and the habit of sedulously 
cultivating the friendship of eastern investors still held. They 
represented the world's greatest investor in a community of 
small business men newly-arrived in the charmed circle of 
wealth and power and acutely sensitive to the glamor that 
surrounds the world's financially powerful. In the business 
community of Denver Mr. Rockefeller's agents had a prestige 
comparable to that of those strong men of Rome sent out 
from the world's capital to carry its grandeur into distant 
provinces. Three newspaper publishers, preachers of- the 
gospel, obscure officers of the militia, looked to Mr. Rocke- 
feller, a stranger in distant New York, for succor in their 
financial distress. When the United States government, 
warned of the discontent and the impending revolt in the 
coal fields, moved to prevent a disastrous strike, it was to 
Mr. Rockefeller's office in New York that this government sent 
its mediator. It was to Mr. Rockefeller that a Cabinet Officer 
appealed early in the strike, and Mr. Rockefeller's answer 
then, in contrast with his attitude after Ludlow, carried no 
denial or repudiation of his supreme authority and power. 

There are herewith submitted extracts from the correspond- 
ence between Messrs. Bowers and Welborn in Denver and Mr. 
Rockefeller, or members of his personal staff, at 26 Broad- 
way, all bearing on the question of Mr. Rockefeller's responsi- 
bility. Mr. Rockefeller's first indorsement came after he had 
been fully informed regarding the imminence of the strike and 
of the intention of his subordinates in Denver to resist the 
men's demands to the utmost. 

Bowers to Rockefeller, Sept. 29, 1913: * * * He was 
told that we would work such mines as we could protect 
and close the others, and that the writer with every official 
of this company would stand by this declaration until our 
bones were bleached as white as chalk in these Rocky 


Eockefeller to Bowers, Oct. 6, 1913 : I have your letter 
of Sept. 29. * * * We feel that what you have done is 
right and fair and that the position which you have taken 
in regard to the unionizing of the mines is in the interest 
of the employes of the Company. Whatever the outcome 
may be, we will stand by you to the end. 

Rockefeller to Bowers, Oct. 10: I have your letter of 
Oct. 3 and note with interest the progress of the strike. I 
realize that these are trying days for the management of 
the Fuel Company. Its actions are watched with great 
interest by this office, and its strong and just position 
will not lack backing at this end. 

Bowers to Rockefeller, Oct. 11, 1913 : I am in receipt 
of your favor of the 6th, and I want to express the ap- 
preciation of Mr. Welborn and myself, together with that 
of several coal operators who have seen your letter, for 
the stand you have taken in supporting us in fighting this 
unjust, uncalled for and iniquitous strike, called by the 
officials of what is supposed to be a very important union. 
# * * When this Government places in the Cabinet men 
like Commissioner of Labor Wilson, who was for many 
years secretary of the United Mine Workers of America, 
which has been one of the unions that permitted more 
disorder and bloodshed than any class of labor organiza- 
tions in this country, we are not skating upon thin ice, 
but we are on top of a volcano. When such men as these, 
together with the cheap college professors and still 
cheaper writers in muck-raking magazines, supple- 
mented by a lot of milk-and-water preachers with little or 
no religion and less common sense, are permitted to as- 
sault the business men who have built up the great in- 
dustries and have done more to make this country what it 
is than all other agencies combined, it is time that vigor- 
ous measures are taken to put a stop to these vicious 
teachings which are being sown broadcast throughout the 

Rockefeller to Bowers, Nov. 13, 1913 : I am interested 


to keep in touch with the situation and hope the worst is 

Bowers to Rockefeller, Nov. 18, 1913: You will be in- 
terested to know that we have been able to secure the co- 
operation of all the bankers of the city, who have had 
three or four conferences with our little cowboy Gover- 
nor, agreeing to back the state and lend it all the funds 
necessary to maintain the militia and afford ample protec- 
tion. * * .. * There probably has never been such pres- 
sure brought to bear upon any governor of this state by 
the strongest men in it. * * * Personally the strain 
has been very great on Mr. Welborn, who has been the 
recognized leader among the operators. 

Rockefeller in telegram to Secretary of Labor Wilson, 
Nov. 21, 1913: The action of our officers in refusing to 
meet the strike leaders is quite as much in the interest of 
our employes as of any other element in the company. 
Their position meets with our cordial approval and we 
shall support them to the end. 

Bowers to Rockefeller, Nov. 22, 1913 : We are in receipt 
of your telegram of last night, giving telegraphic corres- 
pondence between Secretary of Labor Wilson and your- 
self. Your telegram has been shown to all the members 
of the executive board, in whose behalf I want to express 
appreciation for your splendid support, and for the reply 
you made to Secretary Wilson. Numerous conferences 
are being held day and night, and it is the opinion of the 
coal operators generally, that the officials representing 
the United Mine Workers of America are still hunting for 
a hole, however insignificant, through which they can 
crawl without disgracing themselves before the member- 
ship in their failure to make the coal miners ' strike gen- 
eral and cause a complete tie up. 

Rockefeller to Bowers, Nov. 24, 1913: You and Mr. 
Welborn are frequently in our minds, and we have none 
but words of the highest commendation for the energetic, 
fair and firm way in which you have handled this very 
trying matter. * * * We are with you to the end. 


Bowers to Rockefeller, Nov. 28, 1913 : I am in receipt 
of yonr favor of November 24th, which has been read to 
all of onr executive officers, and I can scarcely express 
onr appreciation of the support you are giving us. * * * 
We are satisfied, all of us, that since the receipt of our 
letters by President Wilson, and your reply to Secretary 
Wilson's telegram, the latter has been prompted to labor 
for any sort of a compromise, to which we shall never 

Murphy to Bowers, Dec. 1, 1913: Mr. Rockefeller 
asked me * * * to say that he fully approves of the 
position you have taken in the correspondence with the 
President and the handling of the matter in general. We 
think you and Mr. Welborn are treating the matter in a 
very wise and firm way. * * * I think your position in 
refusing to submit to arbitration under the conditions is 

Bowers to Murphy, Dec. 6, 1913: On the surface the 
President's suggestion looks plausible, but we are too 
well advised to believe that it would be possible to secure 
an impartial committee named by him. He knows per- 
fectly well that there was not an atom of difference be- 
tween the company and the miners, but, on the contrary, 
entire satisfaction. * * * Mr. Welborn, who with the 
other two representatives of the operators, now believe 
that behind the soft voice of Secretary Wilson is the 
hand of Esau ; that he is a cunning schemer and has tried, 
during his stay here, to trap the operators into some 
corner, that the labor leaders can claim that they have 
won recognition of the union through him. 

Rockefeller to Bowers, Dec. 8, 1913: You are fighting 
a good tight, which is not only in the interests of your 
own company, but of the other companies of Colorado 
and of the business interests of the entire country and 
of the laboring classes quite as much. 

Bowers to Rockefeller, Dec. 22, 1913 : I received a nice 
note from vour father. * * * I have never known such 


widespread approval by all classes of business men as 
we are getting* in our fight for the "open shop." We 
are paying the 4% dividends for the last half of the 
current year on the preferred stock. 

Rockefeller to Bowers, Dec. 26, 1915: I know that 
Father has followed the events of the past few months 
in connection with the Fuel Company with unusual in- 
terest and satisfaction. 

Bowers to Rockefeller, Dec. 30, 1913: I am enclosing 
herein letter No. 3 from President Wilson, and my reply. 
His Excellency had an excellent opportunity to end this 
correspondence upon receipt of my second letter, but un- 
wisely, we all think, he allowed himself to write another 
one, which if from a less dignified statesman would be re- 
garded as a bluff. * * * We are confidentially advised 
that President Wilson's recommendation for a Congres- 
sional investigation will be no more effective. Anyhow, 
he can meditate over his decidedly weak reply to my second 
letter and take such action as he sees fit. * * * I am 
more than pleased to receive this third letter, which no 
shrewd business man would have allowed himself to have 
written, in my opinion. 

Bowers to Rockefeller, Jan. 8, 1914: The Federal 
Court, after two days' trial on the part of the Govern- 
ment, dismissed the case against us on the grounds of no 
cause of action, before we had opened our defense. This 
case was * * * to recover 160 acres of coal lands, 
valued, as they stated, at $1,000 an acre. This is the last 
case of the Government against the company, unless the 
herd of government politicians run out of a job and 
browse around to find something else over which to annoy 

Rockefeller to Bowers, Jan. 8, 1914: It is most re- 
grettable that these armed trouble-makers are still re- 
maining in the labor camps, and we can only hope that the 
state government will take such action as will compel them 
to leave the country at an early date. 


Bowers to Rockefeller, April 25, 1914: The Colorado 
Fuel & Iron Company usually leads in fixing prices and 
conditions, which the larger companies usually agree to, 
and the smaller concerns also, if it is for their interest, 
but no dependence can be placed upon their adherence to 
any working plan for any length of time. 

Bowers to Rockefeller, April 7, 1914: You have ren- 
dered a service for the entire country in your testimony 
before the Congressional Committee, that cannot be over 
estimated for its value just at this period in our indus- 
trial history: As the writer anticipated, these biased 
political wire pullers utterly failed in their attempt to 
trip you and every word you said simply brought out 
clearer and clearer your genuine American loyalty to 
stand against all comers, to protect every man who seeks 
employment in the enterprise in which you have a com- 
manding interest in the enjoyment under the stars and 
stripes, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

I believe the hours you gave to the committee and the 
position you so ruggedly maintained against the assaults 
of Dr. Foster, will do more for the cause of the millions 
of laboring men, than all the efforts of social reformers 
in as many years. 

It will set thousands of faltering employers to thinking 
and inspire confidence and spur them to activity in oppos- 
ing the schemes of political, social and religious dema- 
gogues, who are in the clutches of the labor union leaders, 
whose aim is to shut the open shops. 

I cannot put into words my satisfaction, I will say 
boundless delight with your magnificent and unshaken 
stand for principle, whatever the cost may be. Now for 
an aggressive warfare to 1916 and beyond for the open 

Bowers to Rockefeller, April 25, 1914 : I have received 
a large number of letters, telephone calls and personal 
visits from prominent men in all lines of business and 
professions complimenting you on your testimony before 
the Congressional Committee. 


Rockefeller to Welborn, July 21, 1914: You are fre- 
quently in our thoughts and always with warm and high 

Welborn to Rockefeller, July 27, 1914: I appreciate 
very much your expressions concerning my personal wel- 
fare. My health has never been better than during the 
past year, and I am hardly conscious of any strain. The 
knowledge that we have your confidence and support 
makes everything else easy. 

But Mr. Rockefeller 's part in the Colorado conflict was not 
confined to these letters of praise and indorsement which so 
heartened and sustained the Colorado operators. Prior to 
the massacre at Ludlow on April 20, the letters proved quite 
sufficient for Mr. Rockefeller's purpose. But the storm of 
popular wrath that rose after Ludlow demanded more active 
participation. It was then that Mr. Rockefeller initiated the 
nation-wide publicity campaign by which he hoped to con- 
vince the country that the strikers, and not his company's 
mine-guard-militiamen, were responsible for the deaths of 
thirteen women and children who perished at Ludlow, and that 
the strike itself, instead of a struggle for freedom, was a 
revolt by bloodthirsty and anarchistic foreigners, led by men 
who obtained huge incomes from organized agitation and law- 
lessness. Still hiding behind his executive officials in Denver, 
Mr. Rockefeller employed a publicity expert and advanced him 
money from his personal funds to begin the campaign. He 
chose for the purpose Mr. Ivy L. Lee, publicity agent for the 
Pennsylvania railroad. The President of that railroad con- 
sented that Mr. Lee should devote a part of his time to Mr. 
Rockefeller's service, and the pamphlets and bulletins were to 
be dispatched in bulk from Mr. Lee's Philadelphia office to 
Denver, for distribution from the office of the Colorado Fuel 
& Iron Company. They were to go forth under the name of 
the operators ' committee, as correct information gathered and 
written on the scene by men familiar at first hand with the 

Early in the summer of 1914 there began that remarkable 
publicity campaign by which Mr. Rockefeller flooded the nation 


with bulletin after bulletin, defending the coal operators and 
denouncing the strikers and their leaders. These bulletins 
contained false and deceptive statements. Salaries paid to 
officials of the United Mine Workers in Colorado for the year 
ending November, 1913, were conspicuously displayed as sal- 
aries for the nine weeks ending in that month. This gross 
and palpable slander was mailed to thousands of congressmen, 
editors, ministers of the gospel, school teachers, public of- 
ficials, business and professional men whose names appear on 
Mr. Lee's carefully prepared mailing lists. Xo correction was 
made until it had been exposed by the Commission during the 
hearing in Denver in December, 1914. 

The preparation and distribution of these bulletins was car- 
ried on with the greatest secrecy as to the authorship of Mr. 
Lee and as to his employment by Mr. Rockefeller. When the 
Commission demanded the name of the writer of the bulletins 
of Mr. Welborn, during the hearing in December, Mr. "Weiborn 
refused to answer until he had consulted his attorney. Even 
then he carefully refrained from revealing the fact that the 
publicity campaign had been initiated and paid for by Mr. 

Mr. Rockefeller not only directed Mr. Lee's publicity cam- 
paign, but he sent Mr. Lee to Denver to aid President Welborn 
in preparing his letter rejecting the President's peace plan. 

Mr. Rockefeller's responsibility has a significance beyond 
even the sinister results of his policy in Colorado. The per- 
version of and contempt for government, the disregard of 
public welfare, and the defiance of public opinion during the 
Colorado strike must be considered as only one manifestation 
of the autocratic and anti-social spirit of a man whose enorm- 
ous wealth gives him infinite opportunity to act in similar 
fashion in broader fields. Mr. Rockefeller writes to Mr. Bow- 
ers: "Yon are fighting a goo«l fight, which is not only in the 
interests of your own company, but of the other companies of 
Colorado and of the business interests of the entire country." 
And Mr. Bowers, with whom Mr. Rockefeller obviously is in 
full sympathy and agreement, writes letter after letter pictur- 
ing the growth of trade unionism as a national menace against 


which the business men of the nation must combine. "Now 
for the campaign of 1916" and beyond, is the slogan with 
which one of these letters closes, and Mr. Bowers is unsparing 
in criticism of a President who would tolerate a former of- 
ficial of a labor union in his Cabinet, The nation-wide sig- 
nificance and importance of the Colorado conflict and the com- 
pany's ruthless policy of suppression are emphasized again 
and again. By June, 1914, Mr. Rockefeller had formulated 
something like a definite plan for a nation-wide campaign. 
The most highly paid publicity expert in the country had been 
borrowed from a great eastern railway, to be taken over later 
as a permanent member of Mr. Rockefeller's staff. A "union 
educational campaign" is to be conducted, and the country is 
to be flooded with articles by college professors and others 
bitterly denouncing trade unions. And at the very time when 
he prepares to circulate Prof. Stevenson's intemperate and 
amazing defense of industrial absolutism and tirade against 
trades unions, Mr. Rockefeller enlists the aid of Mr. W. L. 
Mackenzie King, expert on industrial relations, to devise spec- 
ious substitutes for trade unions that will deceive, mollify and 
sooth public opinion while bulwarking the employers' arbi- 
trary control. 

Yet it is important to remember that Mr. Rockefeller's char- 
acter and policies are important only as showing the possibili- 
ties inherent in an economic and industrial situation that per- 
mits one man or group of men to wield arbitrarily such enor- 
mous economic power, and through that power not only to 
control the destinies and dictate the circumstances of life for 
millions of wage earners and - for entire communities, but to 
subsidize and control to a large degree those agencies that 
mold the public opinion of a nation. Even should Mr. Rocke- 
feller change over night, those possibilities of evil would re- 
main inherent in our economic and industrial situation, as a 
menace to freedom and democracy. 

Has the Colorado strike opened the eyes of Mr. Rockefeller 
and his associates to necessity, wisdom or moral obligation 
pointing toward radical concessions and changes in Colorado? 


The evidence justifying an affirmative answer is lacking. The 
Rev. Eugene S. Gaddis, head of the sociological or welfare 
work of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company left in Febru- 
ary, 1915, nearly three months after the close of the strike 
and two months after the inauguration of the latest plan thus 
far announced by the company for the protection of employ- 
ees ' interests. He left because no longer was there an execu- 
tive official in Denver who had time to give serious atten- 
tion to his suggestions for betterment. He was instructed 
by Mr. Welborn to take up these suggestions with Mr. Weit- 
zel, manager of the fuel department with headquarters in 
Pueblo, and Mr. Weitzel, testified the Rev. Mr. Gaddis, was 
not "at all qualified to speak the first and last word on mat- 
ters of sociological import, and we do not get along. "We 
did the first year, but he certainly turned on me, and noth- 
ing that I did could please him. The fact of it was, my report 
made statements that I knew would offend him. I did not 
care. They were outrageous conditions and ought to have 
been reported, and for that reason he was determined to 
get me out of the way." The outrageous conditions com- 
plained of, said Mr. Gaddis, were in regard to sanitation. 
He reported that inhabitants of the coal camps were dying of 
typhus. Mr. Gaddis addressed Mr. Rockefeller protesting 
against Mr. Weitzel 's efforts to discharge him, but Mr. Rocke- 
feller did not answer the letter and his attorney wrote that 
he could not interfere. Mr. Gaddis' place was taken by an 
assistant mine clerk whose only qualification, according to the 
same witness, was that he would assume an obsequious atti- 
tude toward Mr. Weitzel. It was two months after his dis- 
charge that Mr. Gaddis was described by President Welborn 
in a letter to the Commission as "an earnest, faithful worker, 
and undoubtedly a Christian gentleman. ' ' 

The Rev. Mr. Gaddis visited all the camps of the Colorado 
Fuel & Iron Company and had exceptional opportunity to 
meet the miners and superintendents and to ascertain the ac- 
tual conditions. Testifying in May, 1915, he summed up his 
judgment of the situation existing in these camps in the fol- 
lowing language : 


"I have never seen a situation to my mind more despic- 
able and damnable. * * * It is an oligarchy that is con- 
trolling everything. ' ' 

One, and just one, concession to the demand for better con- 
ditions in Colorado has been heralded by Mr, Rockefeller and 
his subordinates since the strike. This is a plan by which 
the miners at each camp. select representatives or a repre- 
sentative to go to Denver, at the expense of the Company, and 
attend a conference with the executive officials there. The plan 
first took form in Mr. Rockefeller's mind when, after the 
Ludlow massacre, aroused public opinion frightened him into 
a realization that something must be done. It will be dis- 
cussed in the concluding chapter. 



The Situation in Colorado After the Strike. 

The defeat of the strike by the methods that have been 
described left the Colorado operators free to operate their 
properties exactly as they saw fit. The United Mine Workers 
have abandoned, at least temporarily, their effort to organize 
the miners, and the large operators other than the Colorado 
Fuel & Iron Company are as determined as ever that there 
shall be no democratic organization of the industry which 
they control. 

At the mines of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company a plan 
purporting to provide the miners with easy access to Com- 
pany officials, and with other advantages of collective bar- 
gaining, has been announced by Mr. Eockefeller and his sub- 
ordinates, and has been widely heralded by them as evidence 
that, the strike having been defeated, they are now willing 
to grant of their own free will and accord what they stub- 
bornly refused to give under the duress of the strike. Be- 
fore considering the merits of this plan it must be pointed out 
that the spirit actuating those who conceived and executed 
it was the spirit of men who give as a charity or a favor that 
which they had denied when demanded as a right. Even if 
we grant that the concession has substantial value, it must 
still be characterized not as a concession to democratic prin- 
ciples, but as an instance of that handing down of favors 
in which autocrats always have delighted. 

But after a study of the plan as disclosed in the testimony 
of Mr. Eockefeller and Beverend Mr. Gaddis, and in the 
public announcements of President "Welborn, the writer finds 
that it embodies none of the principles of effectual collective 
bargaining and instead is a hypocritical pretense of granting 
what is in reality withheld. The testimony and correspond- 
ence not only prove this, but they contain indisputable evi- 
dence that the plan was conceived and carried out, not for the 
purpose of aiding the Company's employees in Colorado, but 
for the purpose of ameliorating or removing the unfavorable 


criticism of Mr. Rockefeller which had arisen throughout 
the country following his rejection of President Wilson's plan 
of settlement, and which had found utterance even in those 
conservative circles and newspapers in Eastern cities where 
Mr. Rockefeller's self esteem could not escape injury by such 

In considering the correspondence and testimony that will 
here be quoted, it must be borne in mind that Mr. Welborn 
is still the President of the Company and the dominating 
executive official on the ground in Colorado. If it appears that 
Mr. Welborn 's spirit and attitude toward the new plan, as 
disclosed in his correspondence while this plan was being 
formulated, were such as to convince the recipient of his letters 
that he was temperamentally and by conviction unfitted for the 
carrying out of any plan for real collective bargaining, then 
Mr. Rockefeller's retention and continued support of Mr. 
Welborn must be taken as a measure of his own sincerity 
regarding the plan. Statements by Mr. Rockefeller and mem- 
bers of his staff that mistakes undoubtedly were made dur- 
ing the strike, and intimations that the policy of the Company 
would be different if the same circumstances again arose, 
must all be judged by the acts of Mr. Rockefeller and his 
subordinates since the strike. 

In June, 1914, Mr. Rockefeller was planning what he called 
a " union educational campaign". It was to be conducted by 
Mr. Lee, his publicity expert, and in connection with it Mr. 
Rockefeller proposed to Mr. Lee that he circulate copies of an 
article by Professor Stevenson of New York University, bit- 
terly attacking trade unionism. It was at about this time 
that he also conceived the plan of conducting through the 
Rockefeller Foundation an extensive investigation into the 
field of industrial relations. He met Mr. W. L. Mackenzie 
King of Ottawa, Canada, formerly Minister of Labor for Can- 
ada, and proposed to Mr. King that he, Mr. King, take charge 
of this inquiry. On August 1, 1914, he wrote to Mr. King, 
who had not yet joined the staff of the Foundation, the fol- 
lowing letter: 


As you have doubtless learned from the papers, the 
situation in the coal mines of Colorado is quiet. Prac- 
tically all of the mines are in operation, the output being 
seventy or eighty per cent of normal, but quite all that 
present business conditions will absorb. Practically all 
of the men who are needed are obtainable. On the other 
hand, tent colonies are maintained, in which some fifteen 
hundred or two thousand strikers still reside. These tent 
colonies are a constant menace to peace and are only held 
in subjection by the presence of the federal troops. If 
the latter were withdrawn, doubtless these unoccupied 
men, many of them, we believe, paid by the union to con- 
tinue the disturbances, would renew active hostilities. 
I wrote Mr. Welborn, the President of the Fuel Com- 
pany, a few days ago, inquiring what the present status 
was of the various committees or individuals appointed 
to undertake to terminate the industrial warfare. A 
copy of his interesting reply I enclose herewith. 

There would seem to be but two ways in which a per- 
manent condition of peace can be restored. First, by 
the calling off of the strike by the United Mine Work- 
ers of America. That this is likely to happen in the near 
future we have no definite reason to believe, unless the 
financial resources of the union are so depleted as a re- 
sult of their industrial conflicts in several states, that 
they cannot much longer continue to support the strik- 
ing miners. Secondly, by developing some organization 
in the mining camps which will assure to the employees 
the opportunity for collective bargaining, for easy and 
constant conferences with reference to any matters of 
difference or grievance which may come up, and any other 
advantages which may be derived from membership in 
the union. When we had our first conference at my house, 
you remember we discussed this matter and developed 
certain points which such an organization would include. 
I am wondering whether you can take the time to dictate, 
at your convenience, an outline of such an organization 
and send it to me for consideration. I think we all rec- 


ognized in the conference above referred to the many 
difficulties in the way of devising such a plan ; at the same 
time, there were certain points which we agreed upon 
as essential. An outline covering these essentials and 
as fully developed as your experience and present thought 
might make possible is what I have in mind. The pur- 
pose of this outline would be to provide a basis for our 
further consideration of the subject and for our discus- 
sion of it with the officers of the Colorado Fuel & Iron 
Company. While I recognize that after your studies have 
progressed you will feel yourself much better fitted to 
outline such an organization, on the other hand it seems 
to me that a step of this kind is going to be the next 
move. This is only my personal opinion. I have not 
talked with my colleagues or with any of the officers 
of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company about it. 

I understand that you are about to start on your West- 
ern trip and that your time is fully occupied. I shall not 
expect a carefully studied or carefully rounded plan — 
simply a rough outline of those points which may occur 
to you, without extended thought but more as a result 
of your past experience with questions of this kind. I 
shall be in New York for the next ten days or two weeks 
and shall be glad to hear from you at my office address. 
The accompanying editorial from the New York Times 
of July 30th is along the line of my suggestion. 

On August 6 Mr. King replied as follows: 

As stated in my wire to you, I did not receive your 
letter of August 1st until the late mail on Thursday the 
4th. The announcement of the declaration of war be- 
tween Britain and Germany came a few hours later. 
Pressing duties arising out of this exceptional circum- 
stance made it impossible for me to get of! a letter to 
you yesterday as I had hoped, and may necessitate this 
letter being less in detail than I should like. However, 
please do not hesitate to suggest my coining to New 
York to see you if you should desire this. I shall be quite 


frank in stating if it is impossible to get away for forty- 
eight hours. Just now I am with Sir Wilfrid most of the 
time, as this seems to afford an opportunity of service 
greater than any other which it is possible for me to hope 
to render in the present crisis. 

The western trip has been called off owing to the war, 
and as you may have noticed, the Canadian Parliament 
has been called for a special session to open a week from 
Tuesday. It is hardly probable that this session will 
last any length of time, but while it is on, and until there 
is something decisive in the European situation, I almost 
feel that I owe it to my country to stay here and be 
available in contingencies that may arise. Under these 
circumstances, I am inclined at this time of writing to 
feel that notwithstanding the cancellation of the Western 
trip, you will think I am taking the right course if I hold 
to the original intention of not giving my time wholly 
to the work of the Foundation until about October 1st, 
as originally planned. On the other hand, the cancella- 
tion of the Western trip makes possible an earlier an- 
nouncement of my association with the Foundation, if 
any useful purpose might be served by this. If in the in- 
terests of the Foundation it would seem desirable to make 
the announcement in the near future, I should be glad 
to confer with Mr. Greene, Mr. Murphy or yourself as 
to the time and form in which it could best be made, hav- 
ing regard to the work itself. 

Coming to the Colorado situation: I agree with you 
in believing it to be extremely unlikelv that the United 
Mine Workers of America will call off the strike. They 
might be willing to drop open active support by de- 
grees, but I am inclined to think that where recognition 
has been the principle for which they have been fight- 
ing, they will not openly abandon the struggle with any- 
thing short of what they may be able to construe as such. 

It may be, however, that organized labour in the 
United States will realize the opportunities and handicaps 


likely to come to certain industries through the changed 
conditions of Europe, and will be prepared to cease hos- 
tilities where industrial strife at present exists, in order 
that on the one hand labour may reap with capital a 
fuller measure of the harvest, or, in industries that may 
be differently affected, protect itself against consequences 
that are certain to arise. I fear that the view likely to 
be taken by some of the leaders may, at the outset, be 
the short-sighted one of endeavouring to persuade their 
followers that the opportunities which may come to Amer- 
ican capital through the crippled condition of industries 
elsewhere, will induce a recognition which under less fa- 
vorable circumstances might not be granted. This is 
almost certain to be the immediate effect, and I think you 
are wise, therefore, in dismissing altogether from your 
mind the possibility of the United Mine Workers calling 
off the present strike, even if, under any circumstances 
short of recognition, they would be likely so to do. It 
will not be very long, however, before the inevitable 
effects of the European war on American labour condi- 
tions are certain to make themselves felt, both because 
of the scarcity of capital available for investment, and 
the crippled condition of industry on the other side, and 
once this becomes apparent, the unions will have to revise 
considerably some of their present policies. 

Having regard to the more cordial relations between 
labour and capital which, it is hoped, the Foundation 
may be able to effect, it would be fortunate, indeed, 
if you could, out of the changed conditions which this 
European war is certain to produce, find a means of re- 
storing industrial peace in the United States in indus- 
tries such as coal and fuel where there is a certainty of a 
direct bearing. It may be that among those who are em- 
barrassing the situation in Colorado, there are many 
foreigners who may feel compelled to return to Europe, 
and that may prove an immediate factor of importance. 
Looking at the ultimate, rather than the immediate ef- 
fect, there is, speaking generally, going to be a large 


amount of unemployment as a consequence of this war, 
and once the war is over, thousands of men and their 
families in the Old World are going to seek future em- 
ployment here in the New. In certain industries it is 
going to be easy for employers to find all the labour 
they desire, and unions will be confronted with a new 
problem. Recognition, simply for the sake of recogni- 
tion, is going to be seen to be less pressing as an imme- 
diate end, than that of maintaining standards already 
existing, and may rightly come to regard as their friends 
and allies companies and corporations large enough and 
fair enough to desire to maintain these standards of their 
own accord. For the unions to take a different view will 
certainly mean to lose the substance of fair conditions 
while wasting resources in fighting for the shadow of 
recognition. Here, it seems to me, lies a possible avenue 
of approach towards restoring normal conditions in 

The possibilities here set forth might be pointed out 
by employers in a perfectly frank and open manner. It 
might be said with equal frankness that were it desired 
to profit by such a situation, employers may seek later to 
enforce individual agreements with all men desiring to 
enter their employ; may even consider, as some doubt- 
less will, altering conditions of employment to their sup- 
posed immediate advantage. Between the extreme of 
individual agreements on the one side, and an agree- 
ment involving recognition of unions of national and in- 
ternational character on the other, lies the straight accept- 
ance of the principle of Collective Bargaining between 
capital and labour immediately concerned in any cer- 
tain industry or group of industries, and the construc- 
tion of machinery which will afford opportunity of easy 
and constant conference between employers and employed 
with reference to matters of concern to both, such machin- 
ery to be avowedly constructed as a means on the one 
hand of preventing labour from being exploited, and on 


the other, of ensuring that cordial cooperation which is 
likely to further industrial efficiency. 

Granting the acceptance of the principle outlined, the 
machinery to be devised should aim primarily at securing 
a maximum of publicity with a minimum of interference 
in all that pertains to conditions of employment. By 
this, I mean, that the hope of establishing confidence be- 
tween employers and employed will lie more in a known 
willingness on the part of each to confer frankly with 
the other than in anything else. Similarly, the avoid- 
ance of friction, likely to lead to subsequent strife, is 
likely to be minimized by agencies which will disclose 
the existence of irritation and its cause, at or near in- 
ception ; trouble most frequently follows where ill-feeling 
is allowed to develop, unknown or unheeded. 

A Board on which both employers and employed are 
represented, and before which at stated intervals ques- 
tions affecting conditions of employment can be dis- 
cussed and grievances examined, would appear to con- 
stitute the necessary basis of such machinery. The size 
of this Board, and whether there should be one or many 
such Boards, would depend upon the numbers employed, 
and the nature of the industry, and whether or not the 
work is carried on in one or several localities. "Where, 
for example, there are different mines, or refining plants 
as well as mines, it might be that boards pertaining to 
each individual concern might be combined with a pro- 
vision for reference to a joint Board covering the whole 
industry, or group of industries, to which matters not set- 
tled by smaller Boards might be taken for further dis- 
cussion and adjustment. 

In determining the character of representation on such 
Boards, broadly speaking, a line might be drawn be- 
tween those who are "paid salaries' ' on the one hand, and 
those who "earn wages' ' on the other. This is very 
rough and very general, for there are in some industries 
a class of petty bosses whose interests may appear to 


identify them more closely with wage-earners than with 
salaried officials, bnt broadly speaking, men who have au- 
thority to give orders and to direct operations, fall into 
the salaried class, while men who have no authority to 
direct others, and whose own work is subject wholly to 
direction, fall into the category of wage-earners. The 
selection of representatives on such Boards should be 
made at a meeting or meetings of employees called ex- 
pressly for the purpose. It might be left optional for the 
employees to say whether they desired a permanent form 
of organization of which their representatives on a Board 
would be the officers, or whether they would prefer the 
selection of individuals at stated periods, without ref- 
erence to any permanent form of organization. It could 
also be left optional with the workers themselves to say 
whether they wished to allow representatives so chosen, 
a salary in payment of their services, or whether such 
services would have to be voluntary. A company might, 
with propriety, offer to provide a place of meeting for the 
Boards, and possibly go the length of supplying the em- 
ployees with permanent office accommodation for their 
representatives, leaving it, however, to the employees 
themselves to provide whatever might be necessary in the 
way of salaries and expenses in the keeping up of such 

It would not appear desirable at the outset that these 
Boards should have anything to do with benefit features. 
They should not be framed with a view of restricting 
through possible benefits, the liberty of any man as re- 
spects the continuance of his employment, but should aim 
primarily at affording a guarantee of fair play in de- 
termining, in the first instance, the conditions under which 
men would be obliged to work and the remuneration to be 
paid, and secondly, the carrying out of these conditions 
in a spirit of fair play. 

One thing to be especially aimed at in the construction 
of such Boards would be the making virtually certain 
of the possibility of grievances or conditions complained 


of being made known to, and subject to the review of 
persons in authority over and above the parties imme- 
diately concerned, where the parties fail to adjust these 
differences between themselves ; this to be carried even to 
the point that directors, if need be, should have, where the 
numbers to be affected are likely -to justify it, a knowl- 
edge of the situation, and power to pass upon it. This 
feature will probably not appeal to pit bosses and man- 
agers who may desire absolute authority. On the other 
hand, I am convinced it should be possible to so frame 
a constitution for these Boards that the possibility of 
this review would in no way interfere with discipline, 
but would be a material assistance rather than a handi- 
cap to those who are charged with responsibility. 

What might be expected of Boards of this kind would 
be that employees, before taking up any question with 
the officers of the company would try to adjust or settle 
it among themselves. Failing adjustment in this manner, 
differences and difficulties would be presented to the offi- 
cers of the company, not by the individuals immediately 
affected, but by the duly constituted representatives 
chosen to safeguard the interests of all. Having had a 
preliminary sifting in this manner, cases could be brought 
before a committee of the Board or before the whole 
Board in any one industry for adjustment. If it should 
be found that an individual Board could not definitely 
determine a matter of importance, there might be brought 
a further appeal on stated conditions to a Board chosen 
to represent the industry as a whole, or a group of allied 
industries; the purpose here being to get away, to a de- 
gree, for purposes of adjustment, from the parties im- 
mediately concerned, but not wholly away from parties 
likely to be ultimately affected. This would make it an 
essential that all members of such boards, excepting pos- 
sibly, persons chosen as chairmen, referees or umpires, 
should be persons actually employed in the industry or 
connected with it in some way, not persons chosen from 
outside. It should be possible, however, for workmen 


to select one or more of their number, who could give 
their entire time to acting in a representative capacity, 
and pay them a salary pending their acting in such ca- 

I think, in a very rough way, this covers the points 
mentioned in our conversation. I really hesitate to send 
this letter in such rough outline and without care in 
preparation. I believe so strongly in never advising 
in regard to any situation until one has made oneself 
familiar with all its phases, that I feel I am running a 
great risk in even setting forth what this letter contains, 
as there may be conditions or reasons which will render 
its suggestions wholly inapplicable to some of the in- 
dustries with reference to which consideration is invited. 
I should mention, too, that in the course of the present 
dictation, I have been subject to constant interruptions, 
and in fact, have had to pick up this letter and drop it 
half a dozen times before reaching this point, all of which 
is most unsatisfactory in a matter so important. I un- 
derstand, however, from your letter that for the moment, 
you are agreeable to accepting a very rough outline, the 
purpose being mainly that of enabling persons imme- 
diately concerned with the industries to consider possi- 
bilities and limitations of the suggestions made, in order 
that these may be taken account of in the working out 
of some definite plan when the same may come up for 

With this understanding I am agreeable to letting this 
letter go forward. Without it, I should hesitate, without 
opportunity of mature consideration, to attempt to give 
concrete expression to views which are clear in my own 
mind, but which, without knowledge of the conditions to 
which they are to apply, I find the greatest difficulty in 
seeking to convey. 

It is unnecessary to dwell here on the circumstance that Mr. 
King speaks of "the shadow of recognition, ' ' indicating that 
he sees the labor problem as merely one of securing for 


the workers a decent degree of physical welfare, and in no 
sense as a problem of democratizing industry and freeing the 
wage earners from arbitrary economic control. Nor does Mr. 
King hesitate to advise Mr. Rockefeller as an employer how 
he may take advantage of a situation produced by the war 
to defeat the aspirations of the workers, and force them to 
take about what he desires to give. Mr. King's personal 
bent is not of great importance in connection with the Colo- 
rado situation, although it is of the greatest importance in 
determining what may be expected of the Rockefeller Foun- 
dation's proposed investigation in the field of industrial rela- 
tions. But in Colorado Mr. King's recommendations were so 
modified by the wills of Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Welborn 
that he was not a controlling factor. 

Mr. Rockefeller sent a copy of Mr. King's tentative proposal 
to Mr. Bowers, who was still chairman of the board at Den- 
ver, and to President Welborn. In his letter under date of 
August 11 to Mr. Welborn, Mr. Rockefeller said: 

For some months, we have been talking with different 
ones who are familiar with the subject, about some simple 
machinery which would insure quick and easy access on 
the part of the employees of the Fuel Company to the 
officers of the company, with reference to wages or con- 
ditions of employment, feeling that the officers of the 
company might think that the introduction of some simple 
mechanism of this kind would tend to promote kindly 
feeling between the employes and the officers, as well as 
be a further evidence to the public of the entirely fair 
and just attitude of the officers toward their men. Among 
the men with whom we have talked on this subject, we 
have found no one more intelligent, more practical or 
more experienced than Mr. W. L. Mackenzie King, who 
was a short time ago the Secretary of Labor of Canada. 
As Deputy Secretary, Mr. King himself settled forty-five 
strikes. It is he who prepared and put on the Canadian 
statute books laws with reference to the handling of in- 
dustrial disputes which have so materially reduced the 


number of strikes in Canada during the past few years. 
Mr. King is a man who has approached this subject from 
both the theoretical and the practical side. I fancy that 
his success in settling the strikes above referred to was 
due partly to his extensive knowledge of and wide ex- 
perience in dealing with industrial difficulties and partly 
to the fact that he has the faculty of making men of high 
and low degree believe in his sincerity and genuineness. 

Having had several conferences with Mr. King during 
the past few months along these lines, it occurred to me 
the other day to ask him to outline briefly some simple 
machinery which would accomplish the result suggested 
at the beginning of this letter. I am enclosing a copy 
of that portion of his reply which deals with the sub- 
ject. You will understand that as a Canadian subject 
closely related to the government, Mr. King is over- 
whelmed with public duties at this time, in connection 
with the European war. He has been unable to give the 
subject of my letter any careful or continued thought 
but has dictated hurriedly some of the points which he 
made in his discussions of this subject with us. 

I am sending this memorandum to you in the most 
informal way, without any conference with my colleagues, 
simply for the purpose of ascertaining whether you gen- 
tlemen in Denver believe that anything along these lines 
is worth considering for the Fuel Company. If you think 
it is, as we are inclined to believe, it occurs to me that it 
might be possible for us to arrange with Mr. King, should 
you so desire, to go to Denver, at your invitation, for con- 
ference privately with you gentlemen. The purpose of 
this conference would be for you to give him the many 
facts as to the Fuel Company's organization, a knowl- 
edge of which would be essential to enable him to outline 
a plan adapted to the specific requirements of that com- 
pany. If there is any man available who could be help- 
ful in working out such a plan as this, I believe Mr. King 
is the man. My thought would be for him to go to 


Denver in an entirely private and unofficial capacity as 
your guest, without its being generally known that he 
was there. I should not expect him to undertake to visit 
the coal properties of the company, but rather simply to 
confer with you gentlemen in your own office. 

I shall appreciate a frank expression of your feeling 
on this general subject, and if I can be of any help in 
developing a plan, should the idea meet with your ap- 
proval, or in securing such a visit from Mr. King, as I 
have suggested, I shall be only too glad to do so. I may 
say in passing that I had a few words with Mr. Lee on this 
general subject before he went west. 

Mr. Bowers wrote his chief on August 16, 1914 : 

For us to take steps at the moment, to form such a 
board, would be regarded by the public as an admission 
on our part, that some such committee or board was lack- 
ing prior to the strike and might perhaps have prevented 

To form such a board now, would discount every utter- 
ance we have made and insisted upon, that there were no 
differences whatever and the strike was not forced be- 
cause of any grievances or differences. 

The United Mine Workers of America, could and would 
justly charge us with inconsistency and that we were 
forced to side step and at last compelled to admit their 
repeated charges, that the miners had no way to reach the 
managers with their grievances. 

We have known for some time, that if we would agree 
to a joint committee of miners and operators being formed 
the strike would be called off and without recognition of 
the union being mentioned. Such a scheme was no longer 
ago than yesterday, passed by the strike leaders here and 
submitted to the International Committee at Indianapolis, 
who meet there Monday next, who in turn are expected to 
submit it through Mr. Davies, one of the investigating 
committee, to the operators. 


This trick they know would be a recognition of the 
union and they would shout it over the world, that they 
had won the strike and our men set upon by a horde of 
organizers and run into the union and followed in a year 
or two with a strike and the open shop would be shut. 

Later on and after the strike is off, or worn out, the 
writer would favor and take an active part in joint con- 
ferences, directly with our miners and undertake to form 
a scheme or plan that would give the miners a representa- 
tive to whom they could go with any matter that they 
thought should be adjusted. I mean a board that would 
have a much wider field than investigating grievances and 
adjusting quarrels, but who would undertake to prevent 
quarrels. To suggest ways and means for the betterment 
of the miners in many ways, and help solve the perplexing 
social conditions and a general uplift board, so to speak. 

There has been some cause for complaint, I think, in 
some coal companies, because of the inability for miners 
to reach the officers — higher up — with their real or fan- 
cied complaints, but this has not been shown to be the 
case in the C. F. & I. Co. To remedy this would be one 
of the good features that a board would be expected to 
develop; they would be the ''missing link" between the 
miner and the managers. 

At the proper time, the writer will give his cordial sup- 
port and will take an active part in formulating such a 
scheme and help to make it valuable to both the miners 
and the company alike, not only to forestall trouble, but 
to bring about better feelings and conditions for the mu- 
tual benefit for all concerned. 

To take this up at the moment, would be most unwise 
in my opinion from every viewpoint ; I feel certain other 
operators would balk, the socialistic papers would charge 
us with dodging and hiding behind this eleventh hour 
scheme to save our faces. The Union leaders would use 
it as a club to drive us into some other corner. 

Our rugged stand, has won us every foot we have gained 


and we know that the organization is bankrupt in this field, 
while the big men in the union are at swords points be- 
cause of their failure here ; so to move an inch from our 
stand at the time that defeat seems certain for the enemy, 
would be decidedly unwise in my opinion. 

The political gang at Washington are at their wits ' end 
to find some way to get out of the pit they helped these 
leaders to dig, so we are encouraged to stick to the job 
till we win. 

President Welborn wrote as follows to Mr. Rockefeller on 
August 20: 

I was very much impressed with Mr. King's thorough 
presentation of the merits of what might be termed a con- 
ciliation board, and have carefully reread his propositions 
a number of times. A plan somewhat similar in form 
was suggested by Secretary of Labor Wilson when he 
was in Colorado the latter part of November, and fol- 
lowing the meeting between the three striking miners and 
representatives of the operators, a part of which he (Wil- 
son) attended. I have no doubt Mr. King's plan would 
be effective in cases of frequent disputes between the em- 
ployed and employer, or where there was a general rec- 
ognition of union labor without the ' ' check-off ' ' and ex- 
clusive rights of the members of the union that are a part 
of the policy of the United Mine Workers of America. 

It seems to me, however, that the adoption at this time 
by the Colorado operators of such a plan as Mr. King 
suggests, would weaken us with our men; would tend to 
strengthen the organization with our employes not now 
members of it ; and would, in the minds of the public, be 
an admission on our part that a weakness, the existence 
of which we had previously denied, was being corrected. 

The strike of our coal miners was literally forced upon 
them against their wishes by people from the outside. 
I imagine that some people more or less intimately con- 
nected with labor conditions in other parts of the United 
States, but uninformed as to our affairs, would accept 


this statement with a good deal of allowance, but I con- 
tend that it is absolutely correct as made, and that being 
true, no arbitration or conciliation board operating be- 
tween workmen and employers could have prevented the 
calling of this strike. 

I am interested in what you say about the results of 
Mr. King's labors in Canada in connection with strikes, 
and hope to some time have the opportunity of discuss- 
ing work of this character with him. It seems to be un- 
necessary, however, for him to come to Colorado at this 
time, for my opinion, as indicated above, is that it would 
be inadvisable to undertake a plan such as Mr. King sug- 
gests while the coal strike is in an unsettled state. We 
know there is no demand on the part of our men — at 
any rate, none of moment — for a board to arbitrate or 
handle possible differences between them and the mine 
officers. Whatever demand there may be of that char- 
acter comes from the uninformed public and is an opin- 
ion, rather than a demand, based on misinformation as 
to conditions surrounding the Colorado strikes. 

I think that the views expressed by those from whom 
I have received letters inspired by the bulletins are some- 
what significant, and practically all of these have, while 
commending the coal mine committee for setting the facts 
before the public, approved the general policy that the 
operators have pursued. 

Mr. Bowers, Mr. Weitzel, manager of our fuel depart- 
ment, and I have considered the advisability of at some 
time inaugurating a plan to be represented by the proper 
committee, by which our men could, when they considered 
it necessary, reach the higher officers of the company on 
matters in which they were concerned. We were prompt- 
ed to the consideration of this because of the charge fre- 
quently made during the past few months — which as to 
the C. F. & I. Co. is false — that the workmen could not 
reach the officers of the company on any matter without 
fear of discharge by the superintendent, and by the fact 
that this charge seemed to make an impression on some 


of those who were naturally favorably disposed toward 
our side of the controversy and toward our general policy. 
We have thought that whatever we do in this direction 
should be done after the strike is over, and as a natural 
forward step from or development of our past liberal 
policy toward our men. Above all, it seems to me that 
we should avoid a course that would, in the minds of 
the public, justify the charge that we had been forced by 
the United Mine Workers of America into giving our em- 
ployes something radically different and better than they 
had previously enjoyed. Mr. Lee is now working on some 
bulletins of an introductory nature, to be posted at our 
mine, from which we can work into a broader scheme of 
co-operation, as seems advisable. 

In normal times we have considered that our interests 
were best served, generally speaking, by pursuing a course 
independent of the other operators. During the strike, 
however, there has been very satisfactory co-operation 
among all of the operators, except the few who signed up 
with the miners ' organization ; yet I do not feel that that 
co-operation should be extended to cover our plans, as 
herein outlined, to which many of them might object, and 
in the operation of which I fear good faith would not al- 
ways be shown. 

I have delayed answering your letter for the reason that 
I wanted to take time to consider the question presented 
in all of its phases. In expressing my views I have attempt- 
ed to be as unprejudiced as circumstances would permit, 
and have tried to be governed by feelings that could not 
be considered arbitrary. 

In reply Mr. Rockefeller, under date of August 28, wrote : 

I fully understand your point of view, and quite agree 
with your conclusion that, however desirable some such 
plan as suggested by Mr. King may be for future con- 
sideration, in order to give additional assurance that any 
just cause of complaint by an employe can be brought 


to the attention of the officers, it is not desirable to take 
the subject up at this time. 

There the matter rested until President Wilson on Septem- 
ber 7 made public his plan of settlement and his letter to the 
operators, urging them to accept it. 

On September 8 Mr. Starr J. Murphy, attorney on Mr. 
Eockef eller 's personal staff, wrote to Mr. Welborn, on Mr. 
Eockef eller 's behalf, the letter that has already been quoted 
in a previous section of this report, in which he warns Mr. 
Welborn against action on the President's proposal that might 
involve "any entanglement with the labor union, " or "an 
attitude which would arouse a hostile public opinion." 

It will be remembered that Mr. Eockefeller participated in 
the rejection of the President's plan, not only by instructing 
Mr. Murphy to write the letter just quoted, but by having the 
company's letter of rejection drafted by President Welborn 
in collaboration with two of his personal employees, Messrs. 
Murphy and Lee. The letter of rejection was dispatched on 
September 18. On September 16 Mr. Murphy wrote again to 
President Welborn, sending him editorial clippings and say- 

I am impressed with the frequency with which they 
make the point that the parties should either accept the 
President's plan or should suggest some other. It seems 
to me clear that public opinion will demand either the 
acceptance of the President's proposition, or some con- 
structive suggestion from the operators. A mere re- 
fusal to do anything would be disastrous. 

This letter did not reach Mr. Welborn until after the letter 
of rejection had been sent to the President, but Mr. Eocke- 
feller had sent Mr. Lee to Denver to assist in the preparation 
of the letter of rejection, and it was probably Mr. Lee's in- 
fluence that brought about the insertion of the following sen- 
tences in Mr. Welborn 's letter to the President: 

A plan to secure harmonious relations in some indus- 
tries or sections of the country would not necessarily ap- 


ply to our peculiar conditions. We are now developing 
an even more comprehensive plan, embodying the results 
of our practical experience, which will, we feel confident, 
result in a closer understanding between ourselves and 
our men. This plan contemplates not only provision for 
the redress of grievances, but for a continuous effort to 
promote the welfare and the good will of our employes. 

With these sentences in Mr. Welborn's letter to the Presi- 
dent in mind, what is to be thought of Mr. Welborn's honesty, 
when on the following day, September 19, he writes to Mr. 
Murphy : 

I appreciate your very thoughtful letter of the 16th 
inst, with suggestions for consideration in the event of its 
being necessary to propose some plan to take the place 
of that presented to us by the President. 

But Mr. Murphy in New York is still impressed with the 
volume of criticism aroused by the company's refusal to ac- 
cept the President's plan. On October 5 he writes: 

What would you think of the idea of having in each 
mine a mine committee consisting of representatives of 
the operators and representatives of the miners employed 
in that mine, chosen by the miners from their own num- 
ber, which should be charged with the duty of enforcing 
the statutes of the State and also the regulations of the 
Company looking to the safety and comfort of the miners 
and the protection of the company's property? 

Some years ago I visited the George Junior Republic, 
and was greatly impressed with the way that their plan of 
local self-government worked. The boys and girls who 
were there were mostly of the unruly class, and a good 
many were sent there after conviction in the criminal 
courts. They, however, made their own laws and en- 
forced them, with the result that there was almost no 
infraction of the rules. Even the most unruly felt that 
if they themselves passed the laws and were charged 


with their enforcement, it would be undignified and fool- 
ish not to do so. The entire force of public opinion was 
in favor of law enforcement rather than against it. Would 
it not work the same way in our mines if a committee 
of the men themselves was charged with the responsibility 
of enforcing the rules ? 

Such a mine committee could also be a medium of com- 
munication between the employes and the operators on 
any matters of common interest, and would take the place 
of the objectionable Grievance Committee referred to in 
the plan which has been adopted by the President. Most 
of the adverse criticism arising from the operators' re- 
fusal to accept the President's plan in its entirety is 
based upon their apparent unwillingness to give the men 
any opportunity for an expression of opinion. I am 
afraid this criticism cannot be met by anything except 
some organized means of such expression. While we 
ourselves may be perfectly sincere in our statement that 
at present the men have an opportunity to present their 
views to the higher officials, it is difficult to convince the 
public of that fact, and consequently public opinion is 
hostile. This public opinion is an important factor in 
the situation and has got to be reckoned with. 

Please understand that again I am merely thinking out 
loud, and send this to you for what it may be worth. 

It is perfectly obvious from this letter that Mr. Murphy's 
motive is to influence public opinion rather than to bring 
about any change in the Colorado regime. 

Highly important as showing the bent of Mr. Welborn's 
mind, and his conception of what constitutes collective bar- 
gaining, is his answer to Mr. Murphy. On October 9 he writes 
as follows: 

I have yours of the 5th instant asking what I think 
of the idea of having at each mine a committee consist- 
ing of a representative of the operator and a representa- 
tive of the miners, which should be charged with the duty 
pf enforcing the statutes and the regulations of the com- 


pany looking to the safety and comforts of the miners 
and the protection of the company's property. 

I think snch a plan, or a modification of it, might be 
employed to advantage. I have also considered with fa- 
vor a suggestion you made when I was in New York, of 
paying a prize of a trip to Denver, for efficiency in some 
particular line. 

Yesterday and day before Mr. Weitzel, our manager 
of the fuel department, was in Denver, when he and I 
went over your suggestion last referred to and decided 
to perfect a plan along that line. It so happens that we 
also considered a part of the suggestion contained in 
your letter of the 5th, which had not then been received. 

There are a number of things in connection with coal 
mining operations much to be desired. Some of them are 
noted below: 

Eegularity in work. 


General observance of rules and laws. 

Care to guard against accidents. 

Loyalty to the company's interests. 

Cleanliness in the homes. 

Mr. Weitzel and I thought that we might possibly de- 
velop a system of marking for efficiency in some of these 
lines, and offer a prize to the one who made the best showing 
in a year, or some shorter period if that seemed advisable. 
My first thought in connection with it was that the contest 
should take place at each mine independent of all the 

We have already started on a plan which was suggested 
by Mr. Lee, of getting at the complaints of the various 
men, in some cases through the doctors, and at one mine 
through the store manager, who maintains a most inti- 
mate relation with all of the workmen. We have started 
this at only four of the properties and will try it there 
before extending the plan any further. If it proves sue- 


cessful, we can work from it into something perhaps a 
little broader. Bnt I think we must avoid now the ap- 
pointment of a committee, as that would come too near 
one of the demands of the miners ' organization which 
has been frequently made, and is expressed through their 
so-called truce proposal presented by the President. 

I think, for the purpose of carrying out your idea of 
having a committee charged with the duty of enforcing 
the statutes and the regulations as to safety and comfort 
of the men, it might be well to have the manager make the 
appointment without there being any feeling that a part 
of the committee represented the company and the other 
part the workmen. There are some mines at which un- 
doubtedly our manager could select three miners who 
would be glad, and could be safely depended upon to as- 
sume the responsibility suggested by you, and would in 
every sense of the word be safe. In considering this for- 
ward work, which I feel we must certainly keep in mind, 
I am impressed with the importance of so composing 
whatever committees are found advisable as to make it 
appear that they all represent the same interest; in other 
words, that there is but one interest which is in every 
sense of the word common, yet having it understood that 
the committee is as free to consider any complaints or 
grievances of the men as though it were one entirely of 
their own selection. I feel that the existing relations be- 
tween ourselves and our workmen is such as to form a 
natural foundation for development along that line. I 
also feel that every step should be made with very great 
care, so as to avoid impressing the men with the feeling 
that we are alarmed or think that we ought to give them 
some representation which heretofore they have not had. 

I want you to feel that your suggestions along that or 
any other line are most welcome, and whenever you wish 
to think out loud about matters that concern the com- 
pany, I shall be glad if you will put your thoughts on 
paper and mail them. I shall hope before the winter is 


over to have an opportunity of talking with you all again 
and reporting progress that we are making along the 
lines that seem to all of us important. 

On December 17 Mr. Welborn issued the following public 
statement : 

In my letter of August 20, 1914, to Mr. John D. Bocke- 
feller, Jr., in connection with a suggestion of W. L. Mack- 
enzie King, the contents of both of which have been 
made public through the hearings of the Commission on 
Industrial Eelations, I referred to plans then under con- 
sideration of providing a method (more systematic than 
heretofore in use) by which our workmen could reach the 
higher officers of the company on matters in which they 
were concerned. 

I made further reference to the plan in my letter of 
September 18, 1914, to the President. 

The selection of Mr. David Griffiths for the extension 
and direction of the plan puts it into systematic opera- 
tion, and we are sure will meet the requirements in the 
situation where representation by committee has not 
been requested. Mr. Griffiths is peculiarly fitted for this 
work, over which he will have complete charge. The ex- 
tent to which he enjoys the confidence of the men will 
make him their natural representative in any differences 
that they may have with the foremen under whom they 
work. If he succeeds in inducing the men to select their 
own check weighman, as we earnestly hope he will, that 
will give them another representative. 

This was accompanied by the following notice to em- 
ployees : 

To Our Employees: 

Mr. David Griffiths has been assigned to the duty of 
extending and directing the work of co-operation and gen- 
eral welfare among our employees. 

He will take up his work immediately and spend prac- 


tically all of his time at the mines, investigating and ad- 
justing complaints. 

As he is well known to all of you, he needs no introduc- 
tion, and I know he will receive the active co-operation 
of every one connected with the company. 

On December 18 he wrote to Mr. Bockef eller as follows : 

Since writing you on August 20th. 1914, in answer to 
your letter of August 11th, with which you enclosed a 
copy of Mr. TV. L. Mackenzie King's suggestions, we have 
been actively at work perfecting our plans to provide an 
easy means by which our employees could present their 
suggestions, or grievances if they had any, to officers of 
the company who would see that they received proper 

Xow that the strike is over and the chance for misin- 
terpretation of our motive is to some extent removed, we 
are putting into systematic operation the plan embodying 
the results of our experience, and Mr. King's sugges- 
tions as far as seemed practicable. 

As will be noticed by the circulars enclosed, the plan is 
designated as the work of co-operation and general wel- 
fare, and has been placed under the direction of Mr. 
David Griffiths, a man peculiarly fitted for the work. 

Through our investigation among the camps, we have 
found that general satisfaction still exists and that there 
is no demand, and apparently no desire, on the part of 
the men that they should have what is termed a grievance 

Occasionally some man will say that the doctor has not 
treated him right. Another will have some complaint 
of the treatment at the store. And some will think that 
they should have better working places in the mines. But 
these are nothing more than isolated cases, and the senti- 
ment of the men seems to be that they do not want a 
committee for whose activities in handling complaints 
they would have to pay (according to general practice) 


a larger figure than the same men would earn while at 
work about the mines. They are, also, in the main, op- 
posed to paying the small sum that would be necessary in 
order to provide their own checkweighmen. 

Three workmen have been in my office in the last few 
weeks. One of them, a miner, came to ask me if we would 
provide a place in which to keep an automobile that he 
had bought. The other two had been called before the 
Commission on Industrial Relations by a special agent 
of that Commission, and after testifying, came of their 
own volition, and not by request, to see me. 

All these men took occasion to say, without questioning 
that they were earning good wages and were satisfied with 
their condition. 

One of them who was quite talkative, volunteered the 
information that if he had a complaint and the superin- 
tendent would not adjust it, he would go to the officer next 
in authority, and finally to me if he did not secure satis- 
faction earlier. I assured him that he should do just as 
he said he would. 

All of these men said they did not want a checkweigh- 
man; that they felt they were receiving full credit for 
the coal they mined ; and they did not want to pay 50 cents 
or one dollar per month to employ a man of their own. 

I am referring to these instances for the reason that 
they fairly represent the character of discussions that, 
in the main, take place between the workmen and the de- 
partment officers of the company visiting the mines. 

From another man, an Italian, I received a complaint 
not long ago of unfair treatment. The investigation of 
this complaint developed the fact that the man had worked 
in three different places within the past few months, and 
made four distinct complaints about his working condi- 
tions. The places about which he complained were readily 
taken by others, who made very good wages in them. 
This man's last complaint was made about a working 
place in our Morley mine. By some re-arrangement iu 


an effort to satisfy him, the Division Superintendent, to- 
gether with the mine superintendent and the underground 
foreman, found two other places, in either one of which 
they would allow him to work — giving him his choice of 
the three. All were good places and all anxiously sought 
by other workmen, but this man declined to take either 
or to remain at the mine. The facts are that he was a 
chronic complainer, and would probably never be satisfied 
any place. 

This instance is mentioned to show the extent to which 
our superintendents go at a time when workmen are most 
plentiful, to satisfy the men in our employ. 

These cases, a few others that have come under my 
personal observation, and the reports from four or five 
of our men in the Fuel Department working in a general 
capacity that gives them access to all the mines, convince 
me that the plans consummated, which will be under the 
personal direction of Mr. Griffiths, will more than meet 
the requirements of the men, and when fully placed before 
the public, ought to satisfy it. 

If anyone can induce our workmen to select checkweigh- 
men, Mr. Griffiths is that man ; and if he succeeds in this 
purpose, which we earnestly hope he will, their check- 
weighmen will be the natural personal representatives 
of the other workmen. Mr. Griffiths will himself be their 
representative in any differences that arise between the 
workmen and either the superintendent, the doctor or 
the store. He is probably better known to coal miners in 
the state than any other man and enjoys their confidence 
to a degree not equalled by that of any other man in the 
state. He has always been the friend of the mine workers, 
and will stand out for them and their interests. At the 
same time, he will usually be able to correct the impres- 
sion of the worker whose grievance is only imaginary. 

We are establishing club houses at several of the camps, 
not only at places that have heretofore had saloons but at 
many other mines. We are providing, and to some ex- 


tent equipping, the club buildings. The men will form 
their own club organization at each camp and operate it 
with men of their own selection. 

Knowing your deep interest in the work here outlined 
and being uncertain as to when I will be able to see you, 
I have written you at some length. After the work in 
its present form is more actively under way, I shall take 
the first opportunity of discussing it with you and your 

Mr. Rockefeller replied December 30, 1914, as follows : 

It was a great pleasure to us that Mr. Herrington was 
able to stay in New York for some days. I thoroughly 
enjoyed coming to know him more intimately and the 
opportunity for a number of leisurely talks with refer- 
ence to Colorado interests. At my request, he will tell 
you more fully than I could write of a number of things 
which we talked over. 

I am enclosing for your information copy of a letter 
prepared by the Commission, of which Mr. Low is chair- 
man, appointed by the President to help bring about, if 
possible, better relations between the coal operators and 
the coal miners of Colorado, which letter I read to Mr. 
Herrington but retained to have copies made. The Commis- 
sion is disposed to send this letter to the president of 
each of the mining companies in Colorado. I have told 
Mr. Low that the spirit in which the letter is written 
seemed to me well calculated to assure the operators of 
the friendly and helpful disposition of the Commission. 
In due course, together with the other operators, you will 
receive this letter from the Commission. It occurred to 
me that the accompanying memorandum might contain 
points which would be suggestive to you in making your 

Our feeling here is that, the strike having been ter- 
minated, it will be the wish of all those connected with 
the Fuel Company to introduce as rapidly as may seem 


expedient the various progressive steps in such a plan 
as your further thought will suggest, looking toward the 
prevention of a possible recurrence at any time in the 
future of the disorder and loss on every hand which has 
resulted from the recent strike. At my request, Mr. 
Herrington told me of the tentative plan which you and 
he had considered, and in our several conferences I under- 
took to develop the idea with him more fully. "We believe 
that the adoption of some such plan as this will be in 
the interest of the employes of the Fuel Company and 
of the stockholders, that it will reflect credit upon the 
President of the Company, that it will insure the cordial 
and hearty good will of the employes and that it will win 
for the Company many friends, both in the West and the 
East, among business men and state and government offi- 
cials. Its adoption would only be in line with the position 
which you took in your letter to me of last August, writ- 
ten after the receipt of my letter accompanied by certain 
suggestions of a plan for co-operation. I believe that 
after it has become effective, it will render increasingly 
easy your work in the management of the Company. At 
the same time, I believe that you share with us the desire 
to show all deference and courtesy to the President's 
Commission and our feeling that their approval of your 
plans and, if necessary, their co-operation will help ma- 
terially in securing the approval not only of the adminis- 
tration but of the public at large. 

On January 25, 1915, Mr. Kockefeller appeared before this 
Commission in New York City and testified as follows re- 
garding the new plan : 

The strike was called off December 10, 1914. On De- 
cember 16, Mr. David Griffiths, formerly State Coal Mine 
Inspector of Colorado, was appointed an intermediary be- 
tween the Company and its employes, respecting matters 
of mutual interest. 

On January 5th a notice was posted at all the Com- 
pany's mines, inviting the employes at each of the mines 


to assemble in mass meeting to select by ballot one repre- 
sentative to every 250 employes in each camp, to repre- 
sent the men at a joint meeting of themselves and the 
executive officers of the Company in Denver, "for the 
purpose of discussing matters of mutual concern and of 
considering means of more effective co-operation in main- 
taining fair and friendly relations.' y 

In the published notice of these meetings, it was stip- 
ulated that in order that the men might feel the greatest 
freedom in making their selection, they should choose 
their own chairman and neither superintendents nor pit 
bosses should attend. 

The notice added : i ' The person selected to attend the 
Denver conference shall be the duly accredited representa- 
tive of the employes, not only at the first Joint Meeting 
but at all subsequent Joint Meetings, and in all matters of 
co-operation between the Company and its employes, un- 
til the employes in like meeting shall designate some 
other person to represent them. It is, therefore, highly 
important that the employes choose with the utmost care 
the one of their number in whom they have most confi- 
dence. ' ' 

I have received, from the President of the Company, 
a telegram informing me that this joint conference was 
held at Denver on the 19th instant, that the meeting had 
proved most satisfactory to all concerned and that its 
spirit had convinced the management that it would lead 
to more active co-operation between the Company and 
its employes in the future. 

Thus, it will be seen that the Company has already 
taken steps to initiate a plan of representation .of its 
employes. It is my hope and belief that from this will 
develop some permanent machinery which will insure 
to the employes of the Company, through representatives 
of their own selection, quick and easy access to the offi- 
cers, with reference to any grievances, real or assumed, 
or with reference to wages or other conditions of employ- 


At a hearing on the Colorado situation in "Washington in 
May, 1915, no further information was obtained regarding the 
development of this plan. Mr. W. L. Mackenzie King had vis- 
ited Colorado during March and April and had studied the 
situation there as director of the Rockefeller Foundation's 
investigation in the field of industrial relations. He made 
it clear that his object was research, and that he would study 
the situation rather from a theoretic and academic standpoint 
than with the purpose of influencing the immediate situation in 
Colorado. He even refused to give to the Commission a state- 
ment of what he had found the situation in Colorado to be, 
and defied the authority of the Government to compel him 
to answer. Mr. Rockefeller's statement on January 25 must 
therefore be accepted as an adequate description of the new 
plan in its present state of development. 

The correspondence and statements already quoted show 
that so far from being a plan that provides for collective bar- 
gaining, it is a plan conceived and executed by men who were 
determined that no element of real collective bargaining should 
enter into it. 

The effectiveness of such a plan lies wholly in its tendency 
to deceive the public and lull criticism, while permitting the 
Company to maintain its absolute power. 

Reverend Mr. Gaddis continued to serve the Company as 
superintendent of its Sociological Department until February, 
1915, or several weeks after the date on which the new plan 
became operative. Testifying before this Commission at 
Washington, he said 

Of the much advertised welfare agent, "as a mediator 
between the Company and its employes,' ' we believe his 
work will only tend to intensify the despicable oppres- 
siveness of the past few years. One super at least has 
already been informed, sub rosa, that there need be no 
undue concern about this new officer limiting their suzer- 
ainty. He had been in field but a few weeks when he ef- 
fected the discharge of a man with a family to support, 
on the word of a woman of questionable character. The 


evicted employe was given no opportunity to present his 
side of the case. 

It is almost farce to presume that a pet appointee would 
fearlessly and impartially bring things to the surface, that 
would disturb the imperturbable equanimity of the one 
who must 0. K. his monthly salary account. 

The assembling of camp delegates in Bowers ' old office 
on January 19th in which complaints were solicited ; and 
a generally bumptious good time with free auto rides, 
banquet and theatre party as a part of the program; 
in addition to all expenses being paid to and from their re- 
spective camps, was a decided hit. 

Chairman Walsh: What were the camp delegates! 
What do you mean by that ? Is that this new scheme they 
call collective bargaining out there, by which the em- 
ployees can present grievances for adjustment? 

Dr. Gaddis: That is what it is claimed. 

Chairman Walsh: You call them "camp delegates," 
and that they had a convention. How do you say it was 

Dr. Gaddis: These men were elected; and the orders 
given were from. Denver that no local officials should at- 
tend the meeting of any camp where they were elected; 
but that the men were to elect their own men, — that was 
the supposition, — to go up there and air their grievances 
before Mr. Welborn and Mr. Weitzel and a mediator, Mr. 
David Griffiths. It was said : 

"And many of the men showed a freedom such as one 
might expect from them in a meeting exclusively of their 
immediate associates." If two of the members of this 
"Denver Convention" represented the rank and file of 
that body, the norm of the past years will not be altered. 
One of these said members, has for some time, made more 
money in his camp than the super himself. 

Another son of Ham who sat in this first assembly of 
coal camp Patricians and Plebeians, owned the company 
store a bill of over $80 which the manager had almost des- 


paired of collecting; and for more than a year this same 
accredited subject had been paying back the store on a 
$100 advanced for his wife's funeral expenses. 

Chairman Walsh: Now this was a negro, was he? 

Dr. Gaddis: Yes, sir. 

Chairman Walsh: Now, you say, however, the men 
were given to understand that they would choose these 
men democratically, — that is, the company was not to 

Dr. Gaddis: I do. 

Chairman Walsh: Well, then, for instance, take this 
sort of a case, how would it work out, the criticism of 
this man being that he was beholden to the company for 
an indebtedness! First, I will ask you, is that a negro 

Dr. Gaddis: No, sir. 

Chairman Walsh: How did he happen to be repre- 
senting the white men there, — a man that was so 

Dr. Gaddis: I could not say, Mr. Walsh. There are 
some things that happen that I cannot explain. 

Chairman Walsh: Go ahead. 

Dr. Gaddis (reading) : A good square kick could hard- 
ly be expected from such sources. 

Again the remembrance of so many of their former 
comrades being ' ' canned, ' • or squealing, would not be for- 
gotten amidst the grandeur and informality of their tem- 
porary environment. 

A few weeks after this meeting a representative from 
headquarters inquired of a super if "the men thought we 
were trying to put one over on them ? ' ' There is room for 
suspicion that "one is being put over" on the public and 
that the various investigating committees are having dust 
thrown into their eyes; for, Presto, the lion has been 
changed into the lamb. 

If the investigating committees can be kept out of Colo- 


rado for the next six months or a year the old shackles of 
oppression will have received so many new rivets, that 
it will take the hellish fires of another strike to loosen 

Mr. Welborn's conception of collective bargaining and of 
an ideal arrangement for safeguarding the wage earners ' 
interests is expressed in the following sentence in his letter 
of October 9, 1914: 

I am impressed with the importance of so composing 
whatever committees are found advisable as to make it 
appear that they all represent some interest; in other 
words, that there is but one interest which is in every 
sence of the word common, yet having it understood that 
the committee is as free to consider any complaints or 
grievances of the men as though it were one actually of 
their own selection. 

This notion that the interests of the employer and employee 
are common when applied to distribution of product is a fal- 
lacy that can hardly be advanced with sincerity by a man of 
intelligence. Yet it apparently animates Mr. Rockefeller's 
attitude, and he even considers it consistent with the existence 
of a system of collective bargaining. It need scarcely be point- 
ed out, first, that the plan outlined by the letters and testi- 
mony here quoted does not provide an effective organization 
of the Company's own employees, and, second, that if it did 
these employes would still be unable to maintain bargaining 
equality without the support of a nation-wide organization 
such as only the United Mine Workers can give.